Youth boxers aim for medals, Olympic quota places at worlds
It’s an event where India’s medal count has only gone up with each edition and even though the current circumstances
New Delhi: It’s an event where India’s medal count has only gone up with each edition and even though the current circumstances are the worst for Indian boxing, a group of seven boys and three girls is confident of delivering the nation’s best-ever show in the AIBA World Youth Championships a qualifying event for the Youth Olympics this year.
The youngsters, all in the age bracket of 17 and 18, would be looking out for not just medals from April 14 to 24 in Sofia, Bulgaria but also a place in the Youth Olympics, scheduled to be held in Nanjing, China from August 16 to 28.
To qualify for the Youth Olympics, the boxers will have to reach at least the semi-finals of the world event.
The Indians would be competing under the International Boxing Association (AIBA) flag due to the termination of the Indian Boxing Federation following its failure to comply with the world body’s directives on holding elections.
Despite the gloomy circumstances that surround their departure, the youngsters are beaming with confidence.
“It is a tournament where we have traditionally done well, it has produced for us champions who have gone on to do well exceptionally well at the senior,” national youth coach G Manoharan told ahead of the team’s departure later tonight.
Manoharan is not off the mark with that statement. At the 2010 edition, Vikas Krishan (69kg) won a gold medal while Shiva Thapa (52kg) returned with a silver medal.
While Vikas went on to become only the second Indian to grab a senior World Championship medal, Shiva became a gold medallist at the senior Asian level before becoming the youngest from the country to clinch an Olympic berth.
“This year, we expect to come up with our best ever performance. Expected medal count is four or more,” asserted Manoharan, despite the fact that the Indians have been denied crucial training stints abroad due to the IABF’s termination.
“We have been preparing pretty well at our camp in the Sports Authority of India Center in Aurangabad. The morale of the team is very high. Some of the boys who are going to Sofia are in good form,” added the long-serving coach.