A welcome revival

KAMESH SRINIVASAN

THE international editions of the annual YMCA boxing championship had played a significant role in improving the standard of the pugilists in the country. It was, thus, a welcome revival when the organisers hosted a seven-nation competition for juniors, after having restricted participation to the local boxers in the last few years.

Joe Smith of England with the Best Boxer Trophy.-SANDEEP SAXENA

There were quality boxers from England, Turkmenistan, Chinese Taipei, Uzbekistan among others, which made it a lively affair. The host did well to field two teams to make the maximum of the competition, especially in the light of there being only few entries from the foreign teams.

The world cadet champion Aziz Uluguv was on hand to provide lustre to the meet, and Robin Dev showed his prowess in subduing the talented Uzbek lad 17-15 in the flyweight semifinals.

The 17-year-old Robin, a trainee of the SAI Hostel in Bhiwani, had the confidence to match wits with the famed opponent.

The 12th standard student of Jat School, Hissar, said that the international exposure in Germany, when the juniors trained and competed in the Brandenburg meet last August, had enhanced his confidence.

"If we compete more at the international level, our chances of winning medals in the Asian and World junior championships will improve," said Robin, quite pleased with his fare.

However, quite surprisingly none of the Indians could find favour from the adjudicators when it came to selecting the Best Boxer.

In fact, the host which grabbed eight of the 10 gold medals at stake, could not win any special award. Maybe, the idea was to be a good host and encourage the visitors.

England won the two other gold medals and Joe Smith was adjudged the Best Boxer, while Aziz Uluguv was declared the Best Loser.

The real award, rather the reward, for the Indian boxers will be there when they compete with renewed confidence in the coming international championships.

Meanwhile, the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF), with a new set of office-bearers, needs to build a more solid base by encouraging organisations like the YMCA to host such quality events.

There has to be a continuity to healthy activity, and it remains to be seen how well the talented Indian juniors get groomed to world standards in the coming months.

The results (finals):

Light flyweight: Khimanand Belwal (Ind-Y) bt Arun Singh (Ind-G) 14-10.

Flyweight: Robin Dev (Ind-Y) bt V. Durga Rao (Ind-G) 16-4; Bantamweight: Diwakar Prasad (Ind-Y) bt Bijender Singh (Ind-G) 23-13.

Featherweight: Jai Bhagwan Singh (Ind-Y) bt M. Ahteshamuddin (Ind-G) 14-2; Lightweight: Vijender Singh (Ind-Y) bt Gautam Bhargav (Ind-G).

Light welterweight: Thomas Coward (Eng) bt Steven Brabant (Mri) 19-10; Welterweight: Vikram Dhull (Ind-Y) bt Kaylem Lowe (Eng); Light middleweight: Joe Smith (Eng) bt Parvinder Singh (Ind-Y) 23-9.

Middleweight: Harpal Singh Sandhu (Ind-Y) bt Chin Yu Tsao (Tpe) RSC 1st round.

Light heavyweight: Vinod Sumra (Ind-Y) bt Joginder Singh (Ind-G) 17-10.

Best Boxer: Joe Smith (Eng); Best Loser: Aziz Uluguv (Uzb); Most Promising Boxer: Ming Jan Lee (Tpe).