After Asian Championship success, BFI promises all help to boxers

These are good times for boxers. Their good showing at the recent Asian Boxing Championship has means they can look ahead to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with increased commitment.

Indian boxers during a felicitation ceremony in New Delhi on Tuesday.   -  Anuj Arora

These are good times for boxers. Their good showing at the recent Asian Boxing Championship has means they can look ahead to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with increased commitment.

The Indian boxers won 13 medals at the tournament in Bangkok — two gold, four silver and seven bronze — with men accounting for seven and women six. The Boxing Federation of India (BFI) president Ajay Singh said the boxers would get all help possible to be well prepared for the Olympics at a felicitation function here on Tuesday.

“The BFI will give them the best facilities in terms of coaching, training and nutrition. We will send them to Tokyo at least ten days ahead of the competition to enable them to acclimatise. If need be, we will send chefs to take care of food at the Olympics,” he said.

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Among the prominent winners were Asian Games champion Amit Panghal (52kg), who defeated Olympic gold and bronze medallists, and Pooja Rani (81 kg), who claimed the gold with a win over current world champion Wang Lina. Nikhat Zareen (51kg) and Kavinder Bisht (56 kg) also overcame world champions.

Pooja, at 28, is one of the senior boxers and observed that age was not an issue. “I don’t feel that age makes a difference as I’ve been seeing Sarita Devi, who is 35 plus and still defeating young boxers,” she said.

“I was very happy to hold the medal. My sister has always been my support and somewhere I know it wouldn’t have been possible without she standing by me. I dedicate this medal to my family and coaches (Raffaele Berqamasco and Ali Qamar). It’s because of them I could earn this achievement for the nation,” said Pooja.

Kavinder was happy with the experience. “This championship was a great experience. It helped us know the Asian boxers better and I believe it is very important to know and understand the boxer we compete with. Our multi-nation training coming up in Ireland and Italy will definitely help us prepare for the upcoming World Championship.”

According to Santiago Nieva, the High Performance Director, “It was a very tense and tough competition, some strong boxing nations were competing. There were several close bouts and it shows we are on the right track.

“In the last 20 years Thailand has won four Olympic medals but this time they could win only one, in women. It shows how tough was the competition. But we cannot afford to relax and have to prepare well for the World Championships.”