Beijing bronze has made our task tougher: Sandhu

Updated on Sep 10, 2008 10:56 PM IST

Chief national boxing coach GS Sandhu says Indian boxing has been gradually improving and the bronze is a result of that. But now, they have a tougher task at hand, reports Saurabh Duggal.

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Hindustan Times | By, Bathinda

Beijing was, in a way, mission accomplished for Indian boxing. What Indian pugilists had been looking for these past six decades, they achieved at the quadrennial games — an Olympic medal. Following this success, expectations will be higher in the future and Indian pugilists would be expected to bring home a gold.

"For the last couples of years, Indian boxing has been gradually improving and the bronze is a result of that. But now, we have a tougher task at hand…to live up to expectations and surpass the present target," said chief national coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu.

So, what is the new action plan? "Our entire selection committee is present at the Nationals here to select the probables for the camp starting in early October. This time, the pool of campers would be increased to around 50 and we will also include around 10 juniors keeping in mind the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

"We will also be going to Pune on September 20 to select the squad for the Commonwealth Youth Games to be held next October. There, we will shortlist some boxers for the senior camp also," said Sandhu.

"Our base camp will, however, remain at NIS Patiala and, depending upon the weather, we might shift base to some other station for shorter durations," said Sandhu.

"This time in the camp, our main focus would be to encourage boxers to go for more individual practice in addition to the regular sessions.

“Till they don't start analysing their game, they can't become world-beaters. I have seen this quality in Akhil, Vijender and Jitender," he added.

All the five boxers who went for the Games have been given the permission to skip the Nationals.

So, when are they expected to be back in action? "Right now, we want them to relax. There is no harm in encashing your achievements. But the only thing is, it should not linger. They have to join the camp by October 10," the coach said.

On the preparations for the Commonwealth Games, Sandhu said, "As the camp progresses, the process of weeding out will go on side by side. We will plan some tournaments for the sparring partners too, so that they also improve and, if required, even replace the top-seeded boxers," he added.

Giving credit to his coaching team and support staff for the recent showing, Sandhu said, "It's not the sole effort of the boxers. Everyone played a role in it. All the six coaches — Jaydev Bisht, Shiv Singh, C. Kuttapa, Ramanand, D.S. Yadav and Bhagwant — had a big role to play in Indian boxing's success story.

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    Saurabh Duggal is based in Chandigarh and has over 15 years experience as sports journalist. He writes on Olympic Sports.

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