Indian boxers will know their global standing from their Asian Games show, High Performance Director Santiago Nieva said on Tuesday and reckoned the draw could play a crucial role in how well the pugilists perform in Jakarta.
Seven men and three women pugilists were given an official send-off by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) and Sports India in New Delhi ahead of their flight for Jakarta on Wednesday.
“Now we will know how good we are. This will be the test and we will know where we stand because some really strong countries will be there,” Nieva told PTI.
The boxers had accounted for five medals – one gold and four bronze – in the 2014 edition in Incheon, South Korea. This was way lower than their best ever performance which came in 2010, when the boxers bagged 2 gold, 3 silver and 4 bronze medals in all.
“The draw is going to be big and it will be certainly a factor. But we have grown enough to ensure that it is not as big a factor. But this is not going to be that easy,” he said. “We will know where we stand on the world stage and how we are going to do in the world championships next year,.”
The view was seconded by BFI President Ajay Singh, who reminded the gathering that powerhouses Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are going to be there.
“Don’t forget that, it is not the Commonwealth Games. The big countries are going to be there,” he said.
“But I nonetheless expect every boxer to come back with a medal, just like the Commonwealth Games, and make it our best ever performance,” he added.
The touch of pragmatism could not take away the confidence with two-time medallist Vikas Krishan (75kg) – a gold winner in 2010 and bronze medallist in 2014 – declaring that this was the “most perfect team” heading to the Games.
His confidence is not misplaced. The team boasts of four world championships medallists – Vikas and Shiva Thapa (60kg) among men and Sarjubala Devi (51kg) and Sonia lather (57kg) – among women. Vikas had also claimed a gold at the Commonwealth Games earlier this year.
The medallists from this year’s Commonwealth Games in the team include Amit Panghal (49kg), Gaurav Solanki (52kg) and Manoj Kumar (69kg).
The boxing competition at the Asiad is scheduled to start from August 24 and the Indians are leaving well in advance to get themselves acclimatised with the conditions.
India's Boxing contingent at Asian Games
|MEN’S TEAM||WOMEN’S TEAM|
|AMIT (49 Kg)||SARJUBALA DEVI (51 KG)|
|GAURAV SOLANKI (52 KG)||SONIA LATHER (57 KG)|
|HUSSAMUDDIN MOHAMMED (57 KG)||PAVITRA (60KG)|
|SHIVA THAPA (60 KG)|
|DHEERAJ (64 KG)|
|MANOJ KUMAR (69 KG)|
|VIKASH KRISHAN (75 KG)|