After a bittersweet Asian Games campaign that resulted in four Olympic quotas but none in the men’s section, the Boxing Federation of India will decide the plan of action next week with only two more Paris Games qualifiers left.
The Indian boxing contingent met its target of winning three to six Paris Olympic quotas by winning four.
However, all of them came in the women’s section -- from Nikhat Zareen (50kg), Preeti Pawar (54kg), Parveen Hooda (57kg) and Lovlina Borgohain (75kg).
With the next Olympic qualifier -- the World Qualification Tournament slated to take place in Busto Arzizio, Italy from February 29 to March 12 --, the high performance unit, led by Bernard Dunne, has put forth some proposals, including calling last year’s men’s World Youth Championships medallists directly into the senior national camp.
“The HPD has sent a few proposals. We will be conducting a meeting in the coming week where we will discuss all of them,” a BFI official told PTI.
“Those youth boxers who won medals last year are in senior category now. They will have to compete and perform at the upcoming Nationals to enter the camp because it has been a year since their performance at the Worlds.
“We need to see and evaluate their performance now and that will happen at the Nationals,” he added.
The men’s senior National Championships are scheduled to take place in Shillong from November 25.
“The margin in the performance between senior and youth is immense. There is no match between the two,” said a coach in the know of things, hinting that even if the youth boxers get the nod, they may not be sent for the qualifiers.
While the four semifinalists in the women’s category won Olympic quotas, barring two weight classes, at the Asian Games, only the gold and silver winners made the cut for the Paris Games in the men’s event.
“The qualifying in men was very tough. Only the top two per category got quota and most of the top boxers in men’s boxing are Asians,” the coach said.
“We are looking to change certain things. We are just waiting for the nationals. Some weight categories need change. There are only two qualifiers left now.” The final qualifying event will take place in Bangkok from May 23 to June 3 next year.
Veteran Shiva Thapa, who competes in the 63.5kg, has not been at his best for some time now. The 29-year-old failed to win medals at the Commonwealth Games and World Championships. He had the best chance to clinch an Olympic quota after he received a fairly easy draw at the Asian Games but couldn’t capitalise on the opportunity.
In the 57kg, Sachin Siwach couldn’t make his mark in the absence of World Championships bronze medallist Mohammad Hussamuddin, who underwent a knee surgery in June. The coaches are eagerly tracking Hussamuddin’s progress.
There is also a proposal to directly include World Championship bronze medallists Deepak Bhoria (51kg), Nishant Dev (71kg) and Hussamuddin and Asian Games bronze winner Nerender Berwal (+92kg) in the national camp, exempting them from competing at the Nationals.
According to the current selection policy, the top three boxers per weight class at the senior Nationals make it to the national camp. An assessment is conducted ahead of any big tournaments to select the squad.
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