Monday, July 12, 2010

Young guns ready to perform in boxing nationals

Akhil Kumar
NEW DELHI: While the Commonwealth core group of 44 boxers kept sparring and dirty fighting, sweating buckets and dodging punches over the last few months at the national camp in Patiala, there was this other group of greenhorns dispatching relentless messages to the members of the IBF's selection committee, to have a shot at the privileged group.

Well, the next generation's message has been heard and the Sahara Senior Men's National Boxing Championship, beginning on July 10, will be the perfect stage for them to perform.

"There are some great talents out there who are not currently in the core group," said PK Muralidharan Raja, secretary general of IBF, on Friday at the Talkatora Stadium where the competition will be held. "We want to try them out against the best in the country and if required include them in the core group. Besides, if someone gets injured between CWG and Asian Games, we will have the options ready. That's why we have made this competition mandatory for the core group boxers. If they don't participate they will not be entitled for CWG selection."

After the Nationals, the new core group will slug it out at the selection trials in August out of which will be announced the final list of boxers for the CWG.

This is certainly good news for the young boxers but not everyone is happy. Akhil Kumar, who has been nursing a knee injury and has been out of training for the whole of last month, was asked to participate in the competition despite showing the medical certificate to the authorities which explained the fragility of his tendon. "I'm not here to win.

They asked me to participate so here I am. It's only been 10-days that I've recovered from my knee injury," said Akhil, lifting his dark-coloured jeans to display a circular mark around his knee to drive home the point that he has been doing light workouts with knee-cap on.

AKhil last participated in Nationals in 2003, when he ended up as a champion. This will also be his final nationals since the boxers who participate in World Series Boxing in Milan this year will not be allowed to fight in amateur events any more.

That means world No. 1 Vijender Kumar has already played his last nationals three years back since he is giving the current nationals a miss again due to an injury to his right hand. Olympian Jitender Kumar (56kg) and former world youth champion Thokchom Nanao Singh (49kg) are also nursing hand injuries and will miss the nationals. However, along with Akhil, Asian champion Suranjoy Singh (52kg), Commonwealth champions Jai Bhagwan (60kg), Dinesh Kumar (81kg) and Paramjeet Samota (91kg) and South Asian Games gold medallist Chhote Lal Yadav's presence should send the blood rushing through the veins of the up-and-coming boxers to punch above their weights.

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