Indian youth boxing team chief coach G. Manoharan was satisfied with the overall showing of the pugilists at the recent World youth championship in Yerevan, Armenia.
After the Indian team returned home on Sunday with three medals, one silver and two bronze, Manoharan was happy with the increase in the number of medals. “In 2010, we had won two medals. I had a target of three this time,” said Manoharan.
However, there was a small difference from the showing two years ago. Vikas Krishan and Shiva Thapa had bagged gold and silver respectively in Azerbaijan.
“Last time, the boxers had trained with me for one-and-a-half years. This time, after all the focus on the Olympics, our camp lasted around four months,” said Manoharan.
Manoharan hoped that with proper grooming at least four boxers — Lalitha P. Prasad (49kg-bronze), Sandeep Sharma (75kg-bronze), Narender Berwal (+91kg-silver) and Dheeraj Singh (52kg, who lost in quarterfinals) — could make a mark at the elite level.
“Prasad got the toughest of draws. He lost (to China’s Bin) because of problems with his footwork. We will sort it out before the Asian youth championship,” said Manoharan.
Prasad, who won four bouts before going down in the semifinals, said his fight against Japanese Kosie Tanaka tested him the most.
“All credit to Manoharan sir, who has groomed me at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre (in Bangalore) since 2008,” said Prasad, who had bagged the gold in the Tammer international tournament in Finland earlier this year.
Manoharan said, in middleweight, Sandeep could go on to become a fine replacement for Olympic bronze medallist Vijender Singh, who is thinking of moving to a higher weight.
“Sandeep injured his nose against Russian Magomed Madyiev in the first round of the semifinal. Thereafter, it was difficult for him to keep focus,” said Manoharan.
Praise for Berwal
The coach also praised silver medallist Berwal, the first-ever Indian in the super heavyweight category.
On his first international outing, Berwal, who won two rounds before getting a bye in the semifinals, lost to German Florian Schulz in the title clash.
Manoharan also rated Dheeraj, who lost to Cuban Jorge Cordero in a close quarterfinal contest, highly. “Dheeraj was unlucky, he deserved to win a medal,” said the coach.