India puts up strong show in Asian Boxing C’ship

India claimed two silver and two bronze medals, also bagged seven qualifying spots in the upcoming World championship in Hamburg.

Shiva Thapa has now won a medal in three consecutive Asian Boxing Championships.   -  Ritu Raj Konwar

After the encouraging performance of the Indian boxers in the Asian championship, Tashkent, where the country claimed two silver and as many bronze medals and bagged seven qualifying spots in the upcoming World championship in Hamburg, chief coach S.R. Singh looked forward to building a stronger squad for top events in next few years.

According to S.R. Singh, the qualitative improvement (compared to one silver and three bronze in 2015) in the continental event was a good sign. “You have to take into account that three of our experienced boxers, Shiva Thapa (silver, 60kg), Manoj Kumar (69kg) and Sumit Sangwan (91kg, silver), have gone up to higher weights. When you go up, you face new guys who have been doing well there. There is a difference of height and weight as well. Considering all this, the graph has gone up,” S.R. Singh told Sportstar on Sunday.

Things have become better since the inception of a new National federation in late September last year. “There was a gap after the Olympics. After the formation of a new national federation, boxers have got some good training and exposure trips. We got two medals in Bulgaria and three in Thailand and now four here.”

A World championship medallist, Thapa, who achieved a rare feat of claiming medals in three consecutive Asian championships – 2013 (gold, 56kg), 2015 (bronze, 56kg) and 2017 (silver, 60kg) – was happy to establish himself in the higher weight. “There was not much time in hand. But I trained hard to prove myself at the Asian level and qualify for the World championship,” said Shiva, who defeated Olympic bronze medallist and Asian Game gold medallist Dorjnyambuu Otgondalal of Mongolia in the semifinals.

Another Olympian Sumit Sangwan, finally lived up to the expectation by landing a prominent medal and making a successful switch from 81kg to 91kg.

Former World championship medallist Vikas Krishan (75kg) settled for a bronze medal and asserted his supremacy in middleweight.

Another medallist, Amit Panghal, who had emerged as the National champion in 49kg in his maiden appearance earlier this year, shone at the international stage by bagging a bronze.

Three others, Kavinder Singh Bisht (52kg), Manoj Kumar and Satish Kumar (+91kg), won their box-offs to enter the World championship.

Targeting bigger success, S.R. Singh expected the up-and-coming boxers to do well. “In the Asian championship, promising boxers like Amit got a medal, Ashish (64kg) got defeated by the eventual gold medallist and Kavinder won the box-off for a berth in the World championship. If more youth boxers, who will graduate to the elite level, upset established names, then it will be good for the country. The competition between youth and experienced boxers will help us field stronger squads in Asian Games and Commonwealth Games next year and the Olympics in 2020,” said the chief coach.

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