Boxing won’t be the same again
After Beijing Olympics, boxing in India will never be the same again. It's not going to be just a listless parrying of punches, reports Saurabh Duggal.Updated: Sep 05, 2008, 23:11 IST
One thing the Beijing pugilists have ensured: boxing in India will never be the same again. It's not going to be just a listless parrying of punches; it's not going to be just regular bouts with jabs and uppercuts. It's going to be different and more tactical. For boxing in India has evolved into a world-class sport and the whole world will be watching.
Though the five pugilists — Vijender Kumar, Akhil Kumar, Jitender, A.L. Lakra and Dinesh — will not put on the gloves during the 55th Senior National Boxing Championship in Bathinda starting from Saturday, their mere presence will be enough to lift the spirits of the participants here.
“They have instilled a new confidence amongst all boxers and now everyone feels that he too could turn into a world beater,’ said Dilbag Singh. ‘Vijender, Akhil and I have practiced together and have been in the national camps together on several occasions. So, their fine achievement has coaxed me and others to raise the bar and punch for higher goals,’ he said. ‘They are one of us. They have done what was expected of them and now it's our turn to pick up the baton and stride further,’ said Ram Singh, another boxer.
The boxing federation, too, is expecting that their feats would give a new fillip to the sport and raise the standard of the nationals by quite a few notches. ‘I feel this would be the best ever nationals in terms of the standards,’ said IBF secretary general Muralidharan Raja.
“After cricket, boxing is the now the most sought after sport in the country and we hope the media will also accord more importance and coverage to the sport now,” said IBF president Abhey Singh Chautala. “Besides, I feel the event would attract good gathering, for all three Beijing heroes would be there on the venue,”he added.
Muralidharan said they would select a pool of players from the competition with an eye on the next year's World Championship and 2010 Commonwealth Games. The bout will start from Saturday after the opening ceremony at 3 pm.
Railways in tight spot
Indian Railways, the defending champions, will have a tough time in defending their supremacy, for their main bet Vijender Kumar has already quit Railways and the other three — Jitender Kumar (51kg), Akhil (54kg) and Dinesh (81kg) — aren’t participating. That leaves Services with a good chance to topple the champions.
“It would be 50-50 for us this time round. With Jitender, Akhil and Dinesh giving competition a skip is certainly a setback for us as they are the undisputed champs,’ said Railway’s coach Jay Dev Bisht. “We are here with our full team. We have fielded boxers in all 11 categories,” he added.
As for Services, they, too, are keeping their fingers crossed. ‘ Like us, everyone is here to win. So just wait and watch,’ said a Service’s boxer.