Monday, August 31, 2015

Tough world championship qualifying rules will hurt Indian boxers

The 2015 Asian Boxing Championships is being billed as the ‘toughest’ Asian Championship so far thanks to the International Boxing Federation’s (AIBA) move to prune the number of qualifying slots for the 2015 AIBA World Championship from this Asian Championship. The 2015 AIBA World Championship will be held in Doha next month and a month before the marquee event, the 2015 Asian Boxing Championships is turning out to be a tense affair for all Asian countries, not just India.

AIBA’s decision to block Olympic quota places for winners of its semi-professional league – World Series of Boxing means qualification berths in each weight category from the ongoing Asian Boxing Championships will considerably reduce unlike earlier times when a quarterfinal finish guarantees a World Championship spot.

No wonder, one cannot fault anyone if there is any anxiety among the boxers – lesser qualification slots in each category means boxers are now not even sure of World Championship qualification even after reaching the semifinal. AIBA’s new qualification norms for the The 2015 AIBA World Championship sees only 66 quota places for the Asian contingent - Asia has got seven quotas from 49kg up to the 81kg categories including the host nation of the AIBA World Boxing Championships Qatar. For the highest two categories - 91 kg and +91 kg – Asia has only five quotas.

The 2015 Asian Boxing Championships has a record 188 boxers from 28 nations slugging it out – just shows how the stakes are high in the Bangkok event. The latest AIBA rules are not clear cut and even Indian boxing head coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu was left unsure how things actually works. “I don’t have clarity about how many boxers will qualify from each category. I have heard only the medalists and winners of box-off will make it to the World Championship,” he had said before the team left for Bangkok.

One hopes more Indian make it to the semifinals and ride their luck from there on and qualify for the World Championship.

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