Thursday, June 11, 2015

New Olympic qualifying rules will make it tough for Indian boxers: Gurbaksh Singh Sandhu

This piece was published in Sportskeeda


Indian boxing may be on a ‘high’ after its rich medal haul in the recent Doha International Boxing Championship – where the country scooped up a haul of four gold, one silver and two bronze medals. But the road ahead won’t be easy for the Indian pugilists given the fact that 2015 is an Olympic qualifying year with the World Championships happening later this year.
The world body – International Boxing Association (AIBA) – has trimmed the number of qualifiers from World Championship, which effectively means that the competition will be even more cut-throat for berths in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“There is no doubt that Indian boxers will find it hugely challenging since the AIBA rules states that only three boxers can qualify from each weight category for the 2016 Rio Olympics unlike the last 2012 London Olympics when eight qualifiers made it from the 2011 World Championships,” says Indian boxing head coach Gurbaksh Singh Sandhu.
Sandhu, who has been coaching Indian boxers since 1993, believes Indian boxers will have their work cut out. “Look, the new AIBA rules ensures one thing – one of the semifinalists in the World Championships will not play in the 2016 Rio Olympics as only three qualify from each weight category. The new rules will make it difficult for our boxers to qualify.”

Recent performances have been impressive

Indian boxing hasn’t been in good health with federation politicking ruling the roost – it even saw Boxing India President being removed through a no confidence motion. The lack of clarity about the functioning of the Indian boxing body coupled with the latest Olympic qualifying rules will make things harder for Indian boxing.
“I can’t comment on the functioning of Boxing India as my role is that of a coach. As a coach, I will like to see more training competitions before the World Championships. Australian men and women boxers are visiting India later this month for a practice session with our boxers, which is good for us,” Sandhu apprises.
The seasoned boxing coach heaped praise on his boxers after its fine showing in the Doha International Boxing Championship. “Seven medals is a very good achievement by our boxers, though I expected Vikash Krishnan and Mandeep Jangra to win gold and they settled for the bronze. It happens in boxing, sometimes things don’t go the way you expect,” Sandhu quips.
So what’s the realistic picture he is looking as the number of boxers qualifying for the Rio Olympics is concerned?
“Well, it’s difficult to say anything now given that we have no competitions lined up until the World Championships. Still hoping for the best,” he fires his parting shot.
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