With Indian boxers returning empty-handed from the Tokyo Olympics, the National Boxing Championships held at the Inspire Sports Institute in Vijaynagar rose to prominence as they provided the Indian Boxing Federation (BFI) with a platform. training to identify young talents.
The BFI had previously announced that the winners of the national championships would participate in the world championships to be held in Belgrade, Serbia, from October 24 to November 6. Besides the chance to make a place for yourself on the world stage, the lucrative cash prizes offered for the first time at the World Championships are a great motivation. Gold medalists will receive $ 100,000, while silver medalists will receive $ 50,000. Bronze medalists will receive $ 25,000 each.
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The neophytes rose to the challenge as six of them became the national champions and 16 of them took part in the 13 finals. The BFI has introduced three new categories to match the rearrangement of weight classes carried out by the International Boxing Association (AIBA).
No one can take away the credit from young people just because the participants in the Tokyo Games did not take part in the national championships. The peloton was not weak, as World and Asian Championship medalists and Olympians competed in the event. The podiums were packed with young people between 18 and 20 years old.
Junior world champion Sachin (who ousted Worlds bronze medalist Gaurav Bidhuri and won a bronze medal in 57 kg), Khelo India champion Rohit Mor (who shocked Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Mohammad Hussamuddin to win the 57kg title), Lakshya (who upset Olympian Sumit Sangwan and won 86kg gold), 71kg champion and “promising best boxer” Nishant Dev (who shocked the Strandja Memorial Bronze Medalist Naveen Boora), 75kg champion Sumit, world youth bronze medalist Ankit Narwal (who lost to eventual 63.5kg champion Shiva Thapa) and 54kg champion Akash were some of the young people who caught the eye with their confident and fearless approach.
The young brigade will not only bring a lot of confidence to the world championships, but will also play an important role in preparing the country for the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games next year, and the Paris Olympics in 2024.
Triumphant: Services retained the tag team championships by winning eight gold medals. – Photo credit: BFI Media
The Army Sports Institute (ASI), Pune’s new approach to making the most of lockdown time to identify and prepare talent has been crucial in pushing them onto the national stage. Obviously, the Services team, which was dotted with six new faces, took a big risk by changing almost half of its side. But it was worth a try, keeping the future in mind.
âWhen all employment opportunities dried up during the lockdown, we recruited talented young boxers and groomed them. We kept all of the boxers together during the lockdown and worked on areas like strength and conditioning, injury management, rehab, speed and endurance, which otherwise wouldn’t have received as much attention. due to various engagements, âsaid the ASI boxing officer. , said Lt. Col. Daljeet Singh.
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âThe basic idea was to create good bench strength. We get this kind of result even without including our Olympians. “
Narendra Rana, Services head coach, agrees. âOur strength is our good support. We have several equally good boxers in each category, âsaid Rana, expressing her joy that Services retains the tag team championships by winning eight gold medals.
The National Boxing Academy (NBA) managed by the Sports Authority of India in Rohtak is a major contributor to the pool of promising talent. Many of his trainees represented different teams in national championships and performed honorably.
âAlmost 14 of our interns are competing for different teams such as Haryana, Railways, Madhya Pradesh, Chandigarh, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.
Boxers like Ashish Kulheria (71 kg), Ankit Narwal (63.5 kg), Sachin (57 kg), Vinit (80 kg), Rohit Mor (57 kg) and Abhishek Yadav (63.5 kg) all impressed â , said NBA coach Anil Malik.
Featured veteran: World medalist and five-time Asian medalist Shiva Thapa (left) won his fifth national crown. – Photo credit: BFI Media
Among experienced hands, world medalist and five-time Asian medalist Shiva Thapa won his fifth national crown, while âbest boxerâ and Asian medalist Deepak Kumar (51 kg) took his second. Defending champion and Asian medalist Varinder Singh (60 kg) showed his class while establishing himself as the number one boxer in the lightweight division. Reigning Asian champion Sanjeet (92 kg) won the national crown to maintain supremacy.
The federation is keen to improve the standard of refereeing at the national level and most of the decisions of the national championships remaining uncontroversial can be taken as an encouraging sign.
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Another positive development was the return of the men’s lead goalkeeper at the national level. The sport has seen several cases of boxers suffering from cuts in the past. The cuts were considerably less this time around due to the use of protective helmets and it turned out to be a step in the right direction towards boxers’ safety.
From a performance point of view, the BFI is betting on promising and potential boxers for the 2024 and 2028 Olympics.
The federation looks forward to making changes in the coaching staff, making structural changes, resuming events like the India Open and the boxing league, and starting the Fight Nights with the sole purpose of allowing boxers to win medals at the Olympics.