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The Boxing Federation of India (BFI) recommended World Championships Bronze medallist, Gaurav Bidhuri and Asian Games Gold medalist, Amit Panghal for Arjuna Awards as the Indian boxing contingent was felicitated for their stellar performances in a grand ceremony on their return with the best-ever haul of 13 medals at the Asian Championships. Amit, a silver medalist at the CWG and a gold medallist at the Asian Games, dominated the 52Kg category at the recently-concluded Asian Championships. He extended his dominion in Asia as he defeated Olympic gold medallist Hasanboy Dusmatov in the quarters and Rio Olympics bronze medallist, China’s Jianguan Hu in the semis of the Asian Championships. “We had quite a few names to dwell upon however after extensive consultation by the selection committee we decided to go with the names of the most deserving boxers, Amit and Gaurav. I extend the boxers best wishes and hope the hard work and laurels will be considered while the names are picked,” said Ajay Singh, BFI President after the meeting to finalise the names of the boxers for the coveted Arjuna Awards. Elite Indian coaches, Sandhya Gurung and Shiv Singh have also been recommended for this year’s Dronacharya Award. Sandhya has been attached with the women’s elite team for nearly a decade. Shiv Singh has coached for the past three decades; he has lent his expertise to both the men’s and women’s teams. He was the Head Coach of the Women’s team till last November. Pooja Rani, who scripted history by becoming the first Indian to win a gold in the 81kg category at the Asian Championship, along with the entire contingent was felicitated by DG SAI, Ms Neelam Kapoor, IOA Vice President, Sudhanshu Mittal and BFI President Ajay Singh, besides senior officials of SAI and Sports Ministry. Speaking on the occasion, Pooja said, “I would like to dedicate this medal to my sister and my coaches who has been a constant inspiration and pillar to my journey. I know this is just a beginning and I am going to work hard and aim to qualify for the World Championships, which also is an Olympics qualifier.” The next big tournament in the calendar for the Indian pugilists is the second edition of India Open which will be taking place in Guwahati, Assam from May 20-24 and close to 18 countries have already confirmed their participation so far. The India Open will be a great platform and opportunity for our boxers to test waters ahead of the World Championships.