Starved of top-notch international competitions, the Indian men boxers will have a battle on their hands as they take part in the 18th Asian Amateur Boxing Championship, which will be held in Bangkok from August 24 to September 6. Administrative wrangling has left the Indian pugilists operate without a proper authorised body as the sport is being run by an AIBA-constituted 5-member ad-hoc committee headed by former international referee Kishen Narsi.
What is worrying is that this ad-hoc committee is yet to take a call on whether they have found a group to run the sport in the country despite its formation two months ago in mid-June. Since the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, Indian boxers have taken part in only three events – Kings Cup, Presidents Cup and Doha International Event.
Given this scenario, it may not be fair to expect too much from the 10-member boxing contingent for the 18th Asian Amateur Boxing Championship.
Sandhu, who has been coaching the national boxers for two decades, is more concerned over the lack of top-notch competitions for the Indian boxers.
“I’m a coach and so I won’t like to say about the boxing administration in the country. All I want to say is that we need good international competitions so that our boxers are ready to roar in the ring in big events like the World Championship and Olympics,” quipped Sandhu.
The 18th Asian Amateur Boxing Championship is talked about as the ‘mandatory’ competition for boxers as it serves as the qualifying event for the 2015 AIBA World Championship to be held in Doha in October. “Look, seven boxers will be picked from each weight category and one quota goes to the host nation, so effectively six slots are up for grabs. This means a boxer may not make it to the 2015 AIBA World Championship even if he reaches the quarterfinals, which was the case when boxers took part in the 2013 AIBA World Championship to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics. A semifinal finish is a must for boxers to qualify and given the preparations and lack of top-notch competitions I would not like to say how many will qualify,” Sandhu revealed.
At the 17th Asian Amateur Boxing Championship held in Amman, Jordan in 2013, Indian men boxers cornered four medals – one gold, two silver and one bronze. Shiva Thapa is the defending champion in the 56-kg category, while L Devendro Singh and Mandeep Jangra will look to better their silver medal finish in the 2013 edition.
Manoj Kumar, who won the Arjuna Award last year under controversial circumstances, will be keen to better his bronze medal finish in the earlier edition.
Among the other boxers, Madan Lal and Manish Kaushik will compete in the 52 and 60 kg categories respectively. Vikas Krisan will replace Vijender Singh in the 75kg category, Kuldeep Singh (81kg), Manpreet Singh (91kg), Satish Kumar (+91kg) will fight in the higher weight categories.