Rich haul expected from women boxers at CWG 2018

Five-time World champion M. C. Mary Kom expects all four women boxers to return with a medal from the upcoming Commonwealth Games beginning in Gold Coast

Mary Kom, two-time Asian Games gold medallist, had high praise for coach Raffaele Bargamasco.   -  AFP

Five-time World champion M. C. Mary Kom expects all four women boxers to return with a medal, including “one or two” golds, from the upcoming Commonwealth Games beginning in Gold Coast, on April 4.

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“I will give my best to win a gold,” said the country’s most popular boxer and a Member of Rajya Sabha. “I am not sure but I should have around eight boxers in my weight-category. I will be required to win a maximum of three bouts (for the gold),” said the two-time Asian Games
gold medallist.

Praising the foreign coach Raffaele Bargamasco for his dedicated approach, Mary said, “We have trained very differently this time. Unlike in the past when we almost over-trained and got tired during sessions, this time, it was a measure approach. The coach kept track of the load that we took and guided us accordingly."

On his part, Bargamasco remained non-committal and said, “I am not the one to expect medals in numbers. I understand anything can happen in boxing. Now we go to Canberra to train at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in the days leading to the Games. Injuries are part of the
sport and we have to be lucky on that count. Also, draw plays a part in a boxer’s journey to the medal rounds.”

The men’s coach Santiago Neiva expected the eight male boxers to return with “at least one gold” besides other medals. “We have not won more than one gold medal, from overseas, in any edition of Commonwealth Games. Therefore, it will be a good result if we can win more than one gold medal, in addition to other medals.”

Continuing with his assessment, Neiva said, “Though we expect boxers like Manoj Kumar and Vikas Krishan to do well, Amit Phangal and Gaurav Solanki can prove surprise packets. Naman Tanwar is another fine medal prospect.”

Looking at the opposition, the former coach of Sweden said, “England, Ireland, Canada and Australia are obviously good with their structure. There will also be countries with one or two boxers from whom they expect medals. India is among the few nations sending a big boxing
contingent. If our boxers, men and women, can win say, 6-8 medals, including a couple of gold medals, the campaign will be a success. Returning without a gold will be disappointing.”

Earlier, at an official send-off function, Sports Authority of India director-general Neelam Kapoor and Boxing Federation of India president Ajay Singh wished the team well.

The squad:

Women: 45-48 kg: Mary Kom; 51-kg: Pinki Rani; 60-kg: Sarita Devi; 69-kg: Lovlina Boroghain; Foreign Coach: Raffaele Bargamasco
Men: 46-49 kg: Amit Phangal; 52-kg: Gaurav Solanki; 56-kg: Hussam Mohammed; 60-kg: Manish Kaushik; 69-kg: Manoj Kumar; 75-kg: Vikas Krishan; 91-kg: Naman Tanwar; +91kg: Satish Kumar; Foreign Coach: Santiago Nieva

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