Indian boxers leave for ‘toughest ever’ battle
Severely short of international exposure owing to the administrative mess, Indian boxers face the uphill task of ensuring not just medals but also World Championship berths when they take off tonight for what would be the “toughest” Asian Championships ever starting August 26 in Bangkok.
The Indians have had a stellar record in the continental showpiece, having finished second the last time around in 2013 with one gold, two silver and a bronze medal.
However, it isn’t merely about medals this time. Depending on the size of the draw in each category, only the medallists or the winners of probable box-offs would make the cut for the October World Championships in Doha -- the first qualifying event for next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“It is going to be the toughest Asian Championships ever. The participation is expected to be <g data-gr-id="29">record</g> because from here, the qualifiers for the World Championships would be decided.
Although, it is not yet <g data-gr-id="27">clear</g> but probably only the medallists and box-off winners would be making the cut,” national coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu told PTI ahead of the team’s departure.
Owing to the International Boxing Association’s decision to block some Olympic quota places for winners of its semi-professional League -- the World Series of Boxing -- the World Championships in October will have very few qualifying slots on offer.
Previously, making the World Championships quarterfinals <g data-gr-id="25">was suffice</g> to book a berth in the Olympics but now, the slots could be as less as two in a given weight category.
So, the Indian boxers face the dual challenge of first qualifying for the World Championships through the Asian meet before targetting Olympic berths.