Vikas, Shiva in; Devendro misses cut for Asian C'ships
Some established names and a couple of rookies made for an interesting Indian boxing squad picked for the April-May Asian Championships in which two-time medallist L Devendro Singh could not find a place.
World bronze-medallists Shiva Thapa (60kg) and Vikas Krishan (75kg), alongwith former Commonwealth gold-medallist Manoj Kumar (69kg), were expectedly selected for the April 30 to May 7 event in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The continental showpiece is a qualifying event for the World Championships later this year.
Making a comeback is former Asian Olympic qualifiers' gold-medallist Sumit Sangwan, who last competed in the 2016 Rio Games qualifiers in June.
He has jumped from light heavyweight (81kg) to heavyweight (91kg) and this would be his first competitive outing in the new weight category.
Sangwan was forced to skip the National Championships in December last year after sustaining a cut above his eye during the trials. The greenhorns in the team are Asian youth silver-winner Ashish Kumar (64 kg) and Kavinder Singh (52 kg), who managed to upstage Devendro in the trials. Both the boxers will be making their senior international debut in Tashkent.
Kavinder and Ashish were quarter-finalists at the National Championships, where the former had been forced to give a walkover after injuring himself in the pre-quarters.
Ashish is the cousin of former Commonwealth Games and Asian bronze-medallist Jai Bhagwan. Devendro, on the other hand, is in the reserves for the big event, before which the team will travel to Kazakhstan for a training trip starting tentatively from April 15.
The Manipur-lad had won a silver in 2013 and a bronze in the 2015 Asian Championships.
Also in the reserves is K Shyam Kumar (49kg), who won a gold medal at the recent Thailand International Tournament.