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Vikas vows to win Olympic gold

Packing a punch: Vikas feels he’s ready to take on any opponent in his medal quest.

Packing a punch: Vikas feels he’s ready to take on any opponent in his medal quest.  

I am the toughest one and it is time to perform, he says

These are exciting times for Indian boxing as a record nine pugilists (five men and four women) have made the cut for the Tokyo Olympics (postponed to 2021). London 2012 had witnessed seven Indians in the fray.

Vikas Krishan, the most experienced boxer in the group, is considered a bright prospect to win a medal, even gold. He won the yellow metal in the Asian Games in 2010 (Guangzhou), and a bronze at Incheon (2014) and Jakarta (2018). He also clinched the third spot in the 2011 World championship and a gold in the 2018 Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast.

Santiago Nieva, India’s High Performance Director, said: “Vikas has been at an exceptionally high level for the last couple of years and we have high hopes on him. The 69kg category suits him better [he was in 75kg earlier] as he is more powerful and can sustain the high pace. This, along with his experience as a pro boxer in the United States, makes him a strong candidate for gold.”

The SAI-BFI factor

The Argentine, speaking to The Hindu from Patiala on Saturday, said there were a lot of factors for Indian boxing’s gradual growth. “The most important is the work done by the Sports Authority of India through the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) in the last two years. A solid organisational structure and a strong training system at all levels are the main reasons. We have improved in many areas and the results are there for all to see,” said Nieva.

C.A. Kuttappa, head elite men’s coach, said the upward graph began after the 2016 Rio Olympics. “Both BFI and SAI sent the Indian boxers to quite a few tournaments abroad, and they were sent on merit,” he said. “Everyone received equal opportunities for training and competitions abroad.”

Kuttappa said Vikas’ strength was his powerful punches and uppercuts. “He was at his best when he defeated an experienced Kazakshtan boxer Ablaikhan Zhussupov [Asia/Oceania Olympic qualifying tournament in early March] in the semifinals where he smartly mixed his body punches and punches to the face.”

BFI selector V. Devarajan said Vikas has the “speed and power” to take on any opponent, and “his confidence levels are high now.”

The boxer, who had been travelling frequently, is now spending quality time with wife, two sons and a daughter at his home in Bhiwani (Haryana).

“My priority is to give time to my family as they miss me when I go to camps and competitions. Training is not on my menu right now as I want to rest and recover,” Vikas told The Hindu.

About his third straight Olympics, the 28-year-old said, “I am going there to get the gold. I have trained hard. The quality of boxers doesn’t matter. I am the toughest one. I have sacrificed a lot and it is time to perform.”

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 8:12:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/vikas-vows-to-win-olympic-gold/article31194794.ece

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