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Commonwealth Games 2018: Experience key for Indian contingent in boxing

The 12-member Indian boxing contingent is keen to better the 2014 Games record when they compete at the Commonwealth Games 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia.

other sports Updated: Mar 28, 2018 12:18 IST
Sandip Sikdar
Sandip Sikdar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Mary Kom (R) will be leading the Indian boxing contingent at the Commonwealth Games 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia.
Mary Kom (R) will be leading the Indian boxing contingent at the Commonwealth Games 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia.(PTI)

Punches, jabs and hooks will be exchanged soon when boxing action commences at the Commonwealth Games 2018 from April 5 . Indian boxers will be out to test their strength, skill and speed against the best as they take the ring at the Oxenford Studios.

After the federation politics — which started with the suspension of the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation in 2012 — was resolved, the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) is sending a 12-member team which will have stars like five-time world champion and Olympic bronze medallist MC Mary Kom (48kg), former world champion L Sarita Devi (60kg) and Vikas Krishan (75kg) in the ranks.

“We have carried out a rigorous screening process and picked only those who have done brilliantly at the national and international level over the last few months and stand a chance of winning medals at the Games.” BFI president Ajay Singh said.

Naman Tanwar (91kg) and Gaurav Solanki (52kg) also made the cut while in the women’s 51kg category, Pinki Rani will spearhead India’s challenge after her golden run at the India Open. Lovlina Boroghain (69kg) will look to continue her dominating run.

This is only be the second time that women’s boxing will be a part of Games after it was introduced in Glasgow 2014 with India winning a silver (Sarita) and bronze (Pinki), respectively. “Women’s boxing has become much more fierce since it was introduced at the 2012 London Olympics. We have a fine bunch of young girls brimming with confidence. We will be able to change the colour of the medal to yellow and also increase the tally this year,” said Sarita.

Manoj Kumar is another important member of the Indian contingent in the Commonwealth Games 2018. (Getty Images)

In the men’s 60kg category, owing to Manish Kaushik’s heroics against Shiva Thapa twice in the past, the former will make the trip to Gold Coast. Decorated boxers Vikas and Manoj Kumar (69kg) will be leading the men’s team. After his gritty performance at the Strandja Memorial, Amit Phangal (49kg) will also look to go the distance. Accompanying them will be Hussam Mohammed in the 56 kg category.

Late inclusions to the squad were world youth bronze medallist Naman Tanwar and the unheralded Gaurav Solanki. “We have worked very hard over the last six months, which included precision training. A series of exposure trips have also helped us prepare the right way, which has also boosted our confidence,” said Manoj.

The Indian boxing unit left early for Gold Coast to get acclimatised to the conditions Down Under.

India failed to win a gold at the 2014 Glasgow Games and with such a strong squad, they will hope to turn their fortunes around.

Four years ago, Indian boxers brought back four silver medals and a bronze.