Following their inspirational Commonwealth Games campaign in Gold Coast, will Indian boxers reach such heights at the Asian Games?
Off the back of their most successful Commonwealth Games, Indian boxers are heading to Jakarta to write the next chapter in the nation’s boxing history.
Indian pugilist will look to the fond memories of the Gold Coast for inspiration to kick start their Asian Games campaign with good intentions.
Indian boxers have experienced a change of fortunes for the better in recent the time, their collective success in the Commonwealth Games is one such example, and now appear a confident bunch ahead of the Asian Game in Jakarta.
The positive turn-around started after Rio 2016 heartbreak. The introduction of Santiago Nieva as the boxing coach has worked wonders for the boxing contingent. Nieva has worked tirelessly to improve each and every aspects and technicality of the game in the last one and half years that has reaped rich dividends. The result is very clear as every boxer participated in the Commonwealth Games returned with at least a medal.
With a squad packed with stars and upcoming talent, Santiago Nieva will certainly reflect on the success of Commonwealth Games to inspire and motivate his young and able team at this yearâ€™s Asian Games.
Story so far
Four years after winning 5 medals at the Incheon Asian Games, India is sending 10 member boxing team. The new-look squad contains balanced young and experienced competitors with high on confidence and aiming to reflect the recent good outing.
India had won 9 medals, including 3 gold, at the Commonwealth Games while they finished with 6 medals, including 2 old, in the Chemistry Cup last month.
But 2010 Guangzhou was the best in any Asian Games where Indian boxing contingent had bagged 1 gold, 4 silver and 4 bronze medals and finished in second place ahead the likes of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
What to expect: Hard work and Nieva, a winning concept?Â
Mary Kom was supposed to be the face of the Indian contingent in this Asian Games but to everyoneâ€™s surprise the 35-year-old Olympic medalist announced she wonâ€™t be participating in the Asian Games as she doesnâ€™t want to revert back to the 51 kg section and also wants to focus solely on the World Championships to be held in November this year.
Despite Mary Komâ€™s absence, India does have the ammunition to fire all guns in this auspicious event. Indian boxers would be trying to better the medal haul of the previous Asian Games following their brilliant exhibition in the Commonwealth Games. But it wonâ€™t be a walk in the cake as Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan boxers are expected to pose a significant threat to Indians.
In the absence of Mary Kom, Sarjubala Devi will have the chance to hog all the limelight in the 51 kg category. This Asian games could prove to be the bedrock of the Tokyo Olympic Games as Boxers will have the chance to stamp their authority in this massive sporting extravaganza.
Best medal hopes
Vikas Krishnan Yadav
The 26-year-old boxing legend will have to be at his best to replicate his form. The Hisar born boxer already has two consecutive Asian Games medals in his tally and will be looking forward to making a hat-trick of medals.
Krishnan defeated Dieudonne Wilfried Seyi Ntsengue of Cameroon at the Commonwealth Games and once again the entire nation will be pinning their hopes on him.
The young Indian had a troubled past but he seems to have recovered and is looking hungrier than ever. The 24-year-old suffered precisely having missed out the Commonwealth Games but he is now a force to reckon with and will be one of the contenders to finish on the podium.
Gaurav Solanki will be with full of confidence after winning a gold medal at the Chemistry Cup in the 52 kg category last month. The 21-year-old is going into the Asian Games after winning his first big medal for India at the Commonwealth Games this year.
The debutant missed the gold medal by a whisker at the Commonwealth games in the final. But despite his defeat, he has shown encouraging signs and we can definitely count on him for another medal haul.
The 25-year-old clinched a gold medal in the National Womenâ€™s Boxing Championships back in January but having moved on to 51 kg from 48 kg category the expectations will be huge as he followed the footsteps of his idol Mary Kom. The World Championship silver medalist loves to dream big and coloured her hair in a bid to make it big in the tournament.
Two-time Asian Boxing Championship silver medalist Sonia Lather has enjoyed considerable success during her fledgling international career and has emerged as one of the brightest emerging stars of womenâ€™s boxing in India.
She heads to Jakarta with a positive attitude, leaving behind the disappointment of being excluded from the Commonwealth Games.
Having won the senior national title earlier this year, a confident Lather wants to repeat her past glorious performances when the 2018 Asian Games.
Here is the list of Indian boxers for the Asian Games
Amit Kumar Panghal â€“ Light Flyweight â€“ 49 kg
Gaurav Solanki â€“ Flyweight â€“ 52 kg
Mohammad Hussamuddin â€“ Bantamweight â€“ 56 kg
Shiva Thapa â€“ Lightweight â€“ 60 kg
Dheeraj Rangi â€“Light Welterweight â€“ 64 kg
Manoj Kumar â€“Welterweight â€“ 69 kg
Vikas Krishan Yadav â€“Middleweight â€“ 75 kg
Sarjubala Devi â€“ Flyweight â€“ 51 kg
Sonia Lather â€“ Bantamweight â€“ 57 kg
Pavitra â€“ Lightweight â€“ 60 kg
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Source: Matchday Frolics