New Delhi: A 16-member Indian boxing team will be travelling to Cuba to participate in the Youth Olympic Games from July 18 to 30 with an aim to gain valuable international experience by rubbing shoulders with some of the best pugilists in the world.
The tournament, to be held in Havana, will witness some of the best boxing nations vying for top honours.
With the senior Indian boxers getting their share of match practice ahead of the London Olympic qualifiers, their youth counterparts are also making headway in their preparation for the Youth Commonwealth Games, to be held in the Isle of Man in September this year.
The selected 16 members of the Indian squad will also get an opportunity to tread on the lines of their senior counterparts by excelling at the global level.
The Indian team will be accompanied by three coaches and one doctor to the Cuban Games. A minimum of 20 nations are expected to take part in the event.
B I Fernandez, the Cuban expert who has been working with Indian Boxing since 1990, believes the Cuban Youth Olympics is a unique event- a national youth boxing tournament in which other countries are invited to showcase their talent, and playing in this distinctive arena will aid the Indian colts a great deal.
"Cuba has a lot of young boxers who start training from a very early age and competing with the cream of the Cuban talent pool will be a big learning curve for the Indian team.
Moreover if the boys perform well at this event it will be a big morale boost for them," said Fernandez.
The 40 campers constituting the core group for the Youth Commonwealth Games have been undergoing a rigorous training schedule under the watchful eye of coach in-charge of the youth team, G Manoharan.
"The boys are practising hard for the upcoming Youth Commonwealth Games and the training has been both physical and scientific in nature," Manoharan said.
Talking about the Cuban Olympics, the coach said, "The timing of this event is ideal and it will provide the much needed exposure and match practice to our boys. The competition will obviously be tough, but we are hopeful of returning with at least four to five medals."
"The experience gained from these tournaments can make the difference between winning and losing in the mega events that follows," he further added.