Boxing Nationals to kick off sans Vijender
New Delhi: Injured Olympic bronze medalist Vijender Singh will give it a miss for the third time in a row but the 57th Men`s National Boxing Championships will not be short of star power as a clutch of international medalists would vie for the top honours in the event, starting on Saturday
Vijender hurt his right hand during a sparring session at the national camp in Patiala and will not take the ring at the Nationals for the third year in a row.
Also missing from action would be Olympian Jitender Kumar (56kg) and former world youth champion Thokchom Nanao Singh (49kg), who too are nursing hand injuries.
However, the tournament does have its share of stars with Commonwealth Games gold medallist Akhil Kumar (56kg), 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 highlighting the draw.
To be held in Delhi after a gap of two years, the Championships will also give the boxers decent prize money.
Every bout won in the preliminary stage would fetch boxers Rs 1,000 and the money would keep increasing as the stage gets tougher.
The Indian Boxing Federation has made it mandatory for each one of the 44 core group boxers to participate in the event and exceptions would be made only for the medically unfit.
The IBF has threatened to throw non-participants, who fail to give a satisfactory reason for their absence, out of the camp, making them ineligible for the trials for the Commonwealth Games.
With the trials just a couple of months away, the Nationals give the not-so-established names a chance to impress the selection panel headed by Dronacharya awardee O P Bhardwaj.
Several boxers have not found a place in their departmental teams but the IBF has insisted on their presence in the tournament by introducing a special entry provision.
The boxers who fail to make their state or unit teams would be allowed to compete as individual IBF entries.
The tournament, to be held at the newly-constructed Talkatora Stadium, is also a test event to check the dome-shaped arena`s preparedness for the Commonwealth Games scheduled from October 3 to 14.