Team to be selected on the basis of performances at the Nationals to be held next month
The Indian men’s boxing team for the World championships will be selected on the basis of performances at the Nationals next month, High Performance Director Santiago Nieva said, conceding that there is very little time to conduct elaborate trials.
Nieva, who is currently on a break, spoke to PTI from his home in Sweden and touched on his assessment of the Indian boxers at the Olympics and the plans ahead for what will be a very busy next few months starting with the Nationals from September 15.
“The Worlds in Belgrade from October 26 is a really big assignment coming up. The time for preparation is very less. So we will rely on performances in the Nationals to figure the team. There is no time to hold trials,” Nieva said.
“Some new faces will definitely be there but we also need experience. Those who participated in the Olympics will also be considered. But I guess they will have to compete in the Nationals.”
Amit Panghal (52kg), Manish Kaushik (63kg), Vikas Krishan (69kg), Ashish Chaudhary (75kg) and Satish Kumar (+91kg) competed in the Tokyo Games. Of these, only Satish managed to go past the first round.
Krishan is out of reckoning due to a shoulder injury which will keep him out for three months.
Nieva is expected to be back in India ahead of the Nationals.
“It is a unique situation because of the pandemic. A World Championships just three months after the Olympics is not common but it is what it is. We would try to go abroad for training after selecting the team but if it doesn’t work out, we stay here and train,” Nieva added.
Nieva admitted that the performance of the Indians in the Olympics could have been a lot better and there will be pressure on him as well as the team at the Worlds.
“There is always pressure. It is never avoidable. But I don’t think it would be any different from other times. When you do well, people expect you to do better. If you do badly, people expect you to improve. So there is always scrutiny.”
New weight categories
The upcoming Nationals as well as the Worlds will be competed in the new weight categories introduced by the International Boxing Association last month.
The revised weight divisions for men are 48kg, 51kg, 54kg, 57kg, 60kg, 63.5kg, 67kg, 71kg, 75kg, 80kg, 86kg, 92kg, and +92kg.
In all likelihood, someone like Panghal would compete in 51kg or 54kg and several others will also weigh their options.
On Panghal, Nieva said he has spoken to the world No. 1, who has been aloof after the disappointment at the Olympics.
“I expected him to be still bitter but the good thing is he seems to be looking ahead. He came across clear and analytical about his performance and I believe he is well on course to shrug it off and come back stronger,” Nieva said.
On the Tokyo performance, Nieva both agreed and disagreed with Boxing Federation of India president Ajay Singh’s assessment that the Indians would need to focus more on the mental aspect.
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