Unaffected by the disaffiliated status of the National Sports Federation, 10 Indian boxers, including three women, are all set to take part in the World Youth boxing championship to be held in Sofia, Bulgaria, from April 14 to 24.
Since the Indian Boxing Federation’s suspension in December 2012 and its subsequent disaffiliation by the International Boxing Association (AIBA) in March last, the Indian boxers have been competing in various international events under the AIBA flag.
“The boys have got a chance to box at the top level and they are focused on the job. Whatever is happening in the background has no effect on them,” said G. Manoharan, the men’s coach, hours before the squad’s departure for Sofia on Wednesday.
The World Youth championship will serve as the sole qualifying event for the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Nanjing this year and the Indian squad, consisting of some boxers with proven track records, is hopeful of putting up a good show. “We expect some podium finishes as well as berths in the YOG,” said Manoharan.
“Our preparation at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre, Aurangabad, was good. At least three out of seven boxers should get medals.”
According to Manoharan, Asian youth gold winner Gaurav Solanki (52kg), silver medallist Neel Kamal Singh (75kg) and bronze medallist Manjeet (69kg) were capable of winning medals at Sofia. “Shyam Kumar Kakara is also a good boxer.”
World youth silver medallist Nikhat Zareen (51kg), quarterfinalist Jamuna Boro (60kg) and Manju Bomboria (75kg) filled the three slots available for women. “Nikhat and Jamuna have the experience of boxing at the world level and are expected to do well. Manju, a first timer, is also talented,” said women's coach I. Venkateswara Rao, who conducted the camp at Bhopal.
The squad: Men: Shyam Kumar Kakara (49kg), Gaurav Solanki (52kg), S. Karthik (56kg), Sandeep (60kg), Neeraj Prasad (64kg), Manjeet (69kg), Neel Kamal Singh (75kg); Coach: G. Manoharan.
Women: Nikhat Zareen (51kg), Jamuna Boro (60kg), Manju Bomboria (75kg); Coach: I. Venkateswara Rao.