From five-time world champion M.C. Mary Kom to three-time Asian Games medallist Shiva Thapa, the best Indian pugilists will showcase their acumen at the inaugural India Open Tournament, which would be a qualifying tourney for the Commonwealth Games trials.
The tournament worth US$ 100,000 is going to kick-start on Sunday and will feature boxers from across 25 countries, including Uzbekistan, Cuba, Russia, and Kazakhstan. It will be hosted at the Thyagaraj Stadium in New Delhi. A total of 80 Indian boxers (male & female) will be participating in the five-day event.
However, the tournament will not feature last year’s World Championship bronze-medallist Gaurav Bidhuri (56kg), who is nursing recovering from a persisting back problem that disconcerted him even during the world championship.
The Indian Open would be a big opportunity for the Indian boxers who will not only look to do well but also leave an impression on the selection committee and the coaching panel ahead of the Commonwealth Games.
The teams A, B, C and D for men boxers will showcase all the boxers, who have either already risen to prominence or are out to leave a mark in the boxing ring.
The limelight in this tournament will be on 2010 Asian Games gold medallist Vikas Krishan, 2010 CWG gold winner Manoj Kumar, bantamweight champion Shiva Thapa, world youth champion Sachin Sewach and Asian silver-medallist Sumit Sangwan.
“The India Open is the perfect stage for the Commonwealth Games preparation as they will be competing against world class boxers and their performance can be judged,” Santiago Nieva, the performance director and chief coach for the Indian elite men’s team said.
The 44-member women’s contingent will be divided into five teams with Team E composing Mary Kom and Commonwealth Games bronze-medallist Pinki Jangra.
They will be joined by a host of pugilists like world championships silver- medallist Sonia lather, former world and Asian champion L. Sarita Devi, world youth champion Shashi Chopra, former junior world champion Nikhat Zareen and former world silver-medallist Sarjubala Devi (51kg, Team A).
Every gold-medallist will be awarded US$ 2,500, while silver and bronze medallists in each event will win US$ 1,000 and US$ 500, respectively.