They have returned with an impressive haul of seven medals, including an unprecedented couple of gold medals, but Indian boxers were a “jittery” lot before the Asian Games due to “lack of practice and recovery time” in the build-up to the event.
Indian boxers clinched two gold, three silver and two bronze medals at the Asiad. This was for the first time that Indian boxers pulled off two gold medals in the Games — through Vijender Singh (75kg) and the 18-year-old sensation Vikas Krishan (60kg).
Vikas and Vijender’s achievements are also first the Asiad boxing golds for India since the 1998 Games when Dingko Singh clinched the yellow metal.
“Frankly, I was skeptical about what the results would be like. The gap between Commonwealth Games (October 3 to 14) and the Asian Games (November 12 to 27) was so less that we were hardly left with any time to practice and recover,” said national coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu.
“There were felicitation functions happening every second day because of our CWG medal haul of three gold and four bronze medals. That was affecting our practice schedule,” added India’s Cuban coach B.I. Fernandes.
The boxers were no less jittery but Vijender felt luck favoured the Indians.
“Bas ho gaya ji [we just managed to do it]. Everything worked to our advantage. The draws were ok and the scoring system suited us and most importantly our team fought with a lot of heart,” he said.
“We were worried that the hectic build-up might affect our performance but I am glad that we have delivered to expectations,” added Suranjoy Singh (52kg), who was a tad disappointed for himself after having to settle for a bronze.
Amandeep Singh (49kg), who won a bronze in both the Games, also felt boxers got very little time to rest and recover.
“We can be proud of our performance given that we didn’t prepare much. Who knows, with more practice we could have done better,” he said.
Sandhu said what worked to the Indians’ advantage in the Games was the time they got to acclimatise to conditions in host city Guangzhou (China).
“We reached there well in advance. Our boys got ample time to acclimatise and that really helped. In fact, it made a lot of difference,” he said.
Sandhu said the Sports Ministry and the Sports Authority of India (SAI) have played a crucial role in supporting and shaping the team.
“The ministry has been helpful and so has been SAI.
Without their support, it would have been difficult to build this team,” he said.
Keywords: Asian Games 2010