With the Asian Games scheduled to commence in seven days, there has been a lot of excitement before the start of the Jakarta-Palembang 2018.
On the back of an extremely positive Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, the onus will be on the Indian boxing to deliver on this big stage.
Over the years India has been the land of talented boxers as with the likes of Mary Kom and Vijender Singh have graced various occasions a number of times. Mary Kom was supposed to be the face of the Indian contingent in this Asian Games but to everyone’s surprise the 35-year-old Olympic medalist announced she won’t be participating in the Asian Games as she doesn’t want to revert back to the 51 kg section and also wants to focus solely on the World Championships to be held in November this year.
Despite Mary Kom’s absence, India does have the ammunition to fire all guns in this auspicious event. Indian boxers would be trying to better the medal haul of the previous Asian Games following their brilliant exhibition in the Commonwealth Games. The 2014 Asian Games saw India raking up five medals including one gold by Mary Kom.
The introduction of Santiago Nieva as the boxing coach has worked wonders for the boxing contingent. Following the debacle in the Rio 2016, there had been a sense of growing pessimism but Nieva has worked tirelessly to improve each and every aspects and technicality of the game which has reaped rich dividends. The result is very clear as every boxer participated in the Commonwealth Games returned with at least a medal.
With Mary Kom no longer a part of the Asian Games, Sarjubala Devi will have the chance to hog all the limelight in the 51 kg category. This Asian games could prove to be the bedrock of the Tokyo Olympic Games as Boxers will have the chance to stamp their authority in this massive sporting extravaganza.
As far as boxing is concerned it won’t be a walk in the park as Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan boxers are expected to pose a significant threat in this section. Let us have a look at some names who will be the flag bearers for India at the Asian Games.
The 26-year-old boxing legend will have to be at his best to replicate his form. The Hisar born boxer already has two consecutive Asian Games medals in his tally and will be looking forward to making a hat-trick of medals.
Krishnan defeated Dieudonne Wilfried Seyi Ntsengue of Cameroon at the Commonwealth Games and once again the entire nation will be pinning their hopes on him.
The young Indian had a troubled past but he seems to have recovered and is looking hungrier than ever. The 24-year-old suffered precisely having missed out the Commonwealth Games but he is now a force to reckon with. He defeated Manish Kaushik in the Asian Games trials and will be one of the contenders to finish on the podium.
The debutant missed the gold medal by a whisker at the Commonwealth games as England’s Galal Yafai got the better of him in the final. But despite his defeat, he has shown encouraging signs and we can definitely count on him for another medal haul.
The 25-year-old clinched a gold medal in the National Women’s Boxing Championships back in January but having moved on to 51 kg from 48 kg category the expectations will be huge as he followed the footsteps of his idol Mary Kom.
The World Championship silver medalist loves to dream big and coloured her hair in a bid to make it big in the tournament.
Here is the list of Indian boxers for the Asian Games:
Amit Kumar Panghal [Light Flyweight – 49 kg.], Gaurav Solanki [Flyweight – 52 kg.], Mohammad Hussamuddin [Bantamweight – 56 kg.], Shiva Thapa [Lightweight – 60 kg.], Dheeraj Rangi [Light Welterweight – 64 kg.], Manoj Kumar [Welterweight – 69 kg.], Vikas Krishan Yadav [Middleweight – 75 kg.]
Sarjubala Devi [Flyweight – 51 kg.], Sonia Lather [Bantamweight – 57 kg.], Pavitra [Lightweight – 60 kg.]