Coach Sandhu realistic about Indian boxers chances in London

New Delhi: India`s long-serving boxing coach Gurbux Singh Sandhu is realistic about his wards chances in this year`s London Olympics and said he would happy if the pugilists of the country could repeat the feat of 2008 Beijing Games.

In 2008 Beijing Olympics, Vijender Singh created history when he won the country`s first-ever medal in boxing by bagging a bronze medal in the middleweight category.

Two other Indian boxers -- Akhil Kumar and Jitender Kumar -- missed a medal by a whisker after going down in the quarter-finals in their respective weight categories.

Asked about his expectations this time around, the national coach said, "Compared to other sports like athletics, there are no yardsticks to judge how much an athlete has improved. In boxing it`s all about how you perform in the ring on the given day.”

"All said and done, I am hoping for a better performance from the boys. But I would be happy if we could repeat our performance of the Beijing Olympics."

Four Indian boxers -- L Devendro Singh (49kg), Jai Bhagwan (60kg), Manoj Kumar (64kg) and Vikas Krishan (69kg) -- have already qualified for the London Olympics by making the quarterfinals of the last year`s World Championships, and Sandhu expects two more of his wards to make the cut from the Asian qualifying event in April.

At best, India can qualify for six more slots as there are 10 weight categories in all during the April 4 to 13 Asian Olympic Qualifiers to be held in Astana, Kazakhstan, but Sandhu said he wants to keep the expectations at a realistic level.

"Ideally, I would want all six of my boys who would go to Astana to qualify but realistically, I am aiming two more will qualify for the London Games," said Sandhu on the sidelines of a promotional event.

Talking about his wards` preparation for the Olympics, Sandhu said the main emphasis would be on ensuring that the boxers get as much international exposure as possible.


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