India women's boxing coach Ali Qamar on his team's show at Asian Championship

The Indian women's boxing team won one gold, three silver and six bronze medals at the event in Dubai, ensuring that all 10 weight categories featured an Indian medallist.

File photo: Mary Kom in action.   -  RITU RAJ KONWAR

Indian women's boxing coach Mohammed Ali Qamar believes the gold count could have been higher if his team's training had not been disrupted by COVID-19.

The Indian women's boxing team won one gold, three silver and six bronze medals at the event in Dubai, ensuring that all 10 weight categories featured an Indian medallist.

Seven of these medals were secured on the day of the draws itself thanks to the small size of the competition.

"I am very satisfied with the performance overall. Yes, we could have got more gold medals, but given that we hardly got to train before the championships, I cannot complain," said Ali Qamar.

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"All the silver-winners lost very close bouts and gave it their best. As a coach, there is nothing more I can ask for," he added.

Ali Qamar was referring to the 2-3 losses endured by the Olympic-bound M.C. Mary Kom (51kg) and tournament debutants Lalbuatsaihi (64kg) and Anupama (81+kg).

Olympic-bound defending champion Pooja Rani (75kg) was the lone Indian to clinch gold.

Interestingly the championship bout was her first and only outing of the competition as she got a bye into the semifinals and a walkover into the finals.

The tournament proper might not have been all that taxing but women boxers had a tough time preparing for the event, which was to be held in India originally but shifted to Dubai because of the escalating COVID-19 crisis.

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Their national camp in Delhi's Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium was halted after several COVID cases came to light.

Those infected included Ali Qamar and women's boxing's High-Performance Director Rafaelle Bergamasco.

The training was subsequently organised in Pune's Army Sports Institute a couple of weeks before the team's departure for Dubai and only a handful of Olympic-bound boxers, including Mary Kom, turned up for it.

"Mary had a very good tournament overall. She lost in the final but in my view, the final round had been won by her but that's the sport, you can't do much. With limited training, her performance is really praiseworthy," said Ali Qamar, who also became a 3-star coach by completing his course during the tournament.

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Among the Olympic-bound group, Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) and Simranjit Kaur (60kg) lost in their opening bouts.

Kaur had entered the competition days after recovering from COVID-19 which had come in the way of her resuming training in Pune.

"Training will be held in Pune only till Olympics. There is no other plan. It is an excellent facility," Ali Qamar said.

Pooja had been training at Bengaluru's Inspire Institute of Sports (IIS) before the tournament. It remains to be seen whether she heads back there or joins the others in Pune.

"I am very happy because this tournament has also helped us prepare for the Olympics. It was a crucial tournament for us," said Pooja.

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