Indian boxers will bag at least 2 medals in Tokyo: Former Olympian Akhil Kumar
Former Commonwealth gold medalists Akhil Kumar is hopeful that India will win atleast 2 medals in boxing at Tokyo Olympics
Former Olympian boxers & former national coach back Indian pugilists to bag at least two medals in Tokyo Olympics 2021
India is sending their biggest ever contingent in boxing for the Tokyo Olympics with 9 pugilists comprising 5 men and 4 women boxers representing the country. The more the participation the more the chances of winning a medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games and the former Indian Olympians too are backing Indian boxers to bag at least two medals in Tokyo Olympics. All eyes will be on boxers MC Mary Kom (51 Kg), Simranjit Kaur (60 Kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69 Kg), Pooja Rani (75 Kg), Amit Panghal (52 Kg), Vikas Krishan (69 Kg), Manish Kaushik (63 Kg), Ashish Kumar (75 Kg) and Satish Kumar (91 Kg) as they will be representing India in Tokyo Olympics starting July 23. Former Indian Olympian and Commonwealth Games gold medalist Akhil Kumar believes that India will have their best ever performance in boxing in Tokyo Olympics.
"We have won one medal each in two Olympics before and this time I hope we get at least two medals. It can be more also this time around. The way they are performing they look motivated. They have got good coaches, physiotherapist too for training." said Commonwealth Games gold medalist boxer Akhil Kumar in a conversation with The Bridge.
The last time Indian Boxers won an Olympics medal in boxing was way back in 2012 in London when legend MC Mary Kom won a bronze medal and among men India's last Olympics medal came in 2008 Beijing Olympics when Vijender Singh clinched a bronze. Therefore, Indian Boxers have never won more than one medal in one Olympic Games.
"In boxing a lot depends on the draw you get as well as your performance on that particular day. I cannot commit anything but I am confirmed that Indian boxers will clinch at least two to three medals." said 1992 Barcelona Olympic participant Raj Kumar Sangwan while speaking to The Bridge.
India's former National boxing coach Gurbaksh Singh Sandhu who trained Indian boxers for two decades from 1993 to 2013 too echoed similar sentiments.
"It is difficult to predict in boxing but I am expecting more than two medals. Again it is difficult to predict in boxing because sometimes the result is 3-2 or 2-3. So, sometimes it is subjective. Therefore, we can't say for sure." said the former National Boxing Coach Gurbaksh Singh Sandhu to The Bridge.
With India still searching for their first silver and gold medal in boxing the former Olympian and the current selector in Boxing Federation of India Mr. Raj Kumar Sangwan feels that Tokyo Olympics will be the best ever Olympics for India and the sport will achieve a status which it has never received before.
"The colour of the medal will also change and boxing could well become India's national sport." said the BFI selector Raj Kumar Sangwan.
Both former Olympian Akhil Kumar and his former coach Gurbaksh Singh Sandhu refused to name any particular pugilist as favourite to win a medal in Tokyo Olympics as that will put them under pressure but selector Raj Kumar Sangwan named 5 out off the 9 boxers as India's best bet in Tokyo.
"Amit Panghal, Vikas Krishan, Mary Kom, Simranjit Kaur, Lovlina are the best that we have but it all depends on the day of performance." said Raj Kumar Sangwan.
"I will not name anybody but every boxer is expected to win. Everyone is deserving but you don't know who strikes on that particular day and there are many things which matter like draws. Therefore, it is difficult to predict but the girls have been on top of the rankings and the boys have also been on top of ranking also. I don't want to take name of any boxer that he or she will win a medal because that puts them under a lot of pressure." believes former National Boxing coach GS Sandhu.
The performances of Indian boxers in Commonwealth Games 2018, Asian Games 2018, World Championship and Asian Championship have also raised the expectations of winning medals in Olympics.
"Our boxers have performed won medals at World Championship, Asian Championships. They are getting good support from the federation and the government has supported all the ventures of the federations. So, I expect at least two medals overall. It will be great if both men and women win two medals each. The boys are in form and they have participated in various competitions and they have been winning medals and they are currently ranked 2nd in the world. So, I expect good performance from both men and women." said GS Sandhu.
The Indian boxers are currently in Assisi in Italy where they are preparing themselves for the prestigious quadrennial event and get the right kind of exposure. The Indian pugilists will reportedly fly to Tokyo from there and will return back to India after the conclusion of Olympics.
"If you observe worldwide then our boxers have got better training. The performances of our boxers have consistently improved whether it is Asian Championship, World Championship or ranking. This time the participation is also highest and therefore the chances of winning medals are also very high." said former Olympian boxer and selector Raj Kumar Sangwan.
India failed to win a medal in Rio Olympics 2016 in boxing. India contingent in boxing was small as well as the boxers could not get the right kind of exposure as India's boxing federation was facing a ban. But this time around the Indian boxers have nothing to complain about in terms of preparation, training, exposure etc as BFI is recognized and the Sports Authority of India as well as the Sports Ministry is providing them all the required support.
"The boxers fight and win medals not the federations but the presence of BFI is also important for the support. Things have changed then what it was during our time." said former Olympian Akhil Kumar.
The presence of the federation is important and they are doing a good job and it helps Indian experts also to do a good job. The High Performance Director of India is doing a good job and the kind of exposure the pugilists have got at the international level will bear fruitful results." said Raj Kumar Sangwan.
"The presence of federation is going to be a great help. This time there is a technical official from India. So, the federation is very effective and one of the most powerful federation of the world. This has a lot affect on the performance of the boxers when they know they have a solid support." explained GS Sandhu.
With Indian boxing contingent comprising of young Indian Boxers like Amit Panghal, Satish Kumar, Ashish Kumar, Simranjit Kaur and Lovlina Borgohain as well as experienced MC Mary Kom, Vikas Krishan and Pooja Rani appears to have a perfect blend. And this time by getting all the facilities in terms of training, facilities and foreign exposure provided by the federation and government will enter the boxing ring in Tokyo Olympics well prepared.