New Delhi: An eight-member Indian boxing team is all set to leave for Serbia to take part in "Belgrade Winner 2011", an international boxing competition to be held
from April 20-24.
Earlier this month a 10-member team had been selected to compete in an international tournament in Armenia.
In order to provide boxers with adequate international exposure and an opportunity to excel at the global level, the Indian Boxing Federation had decided to field a team for this event.
This competition marks the beginning of the first phase of IABF`s preparation and groundwork for the London Olympics next year.
After the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, this would be the second International contest that Indian boxers would participate in, first being the tournament in Armenia. Youth Olympic bronze medallist and Asian Games gold medallist Vikas Krishnan, gold medallist at the Commonwealth Games and bronze winner in Asian Games last year Paramjeet Samota, along with the experience of Olympian and Asian games silver medallist Dinesh Kumar will lead the Indian Challenge in Serbia.
The likes of Shiva Thapa, silver medallist at the 2010 Youth Olympics, and Manpreet Singh, who won the silver medal at the Asian games in China, have also made it to the squad.
National coach GS Sandhu believed the competition is going to be tough in Serbia, with the presence of European and Russian boxers.
"It is not going to be easy but this tournament will provide a perfect platform to train the Indian boxers for events like the Asian and World Championships later this year and the Olympics next year," said Sandhu.
"Medals are not our priority. These competitions will be a big learning curve for our boxers and I want them to return enriched with experience," the Dronacharya awardee added.
National Coach Jaydev Bisht and B I Fernandez, the foreign coach from Cuba, will also be accompanying the team to Serbia.
The IABF held selections at the 34th National Games in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand for this competition and based on the performance at the games, the eight-member squad was short-listed.
The selection committee at the trials comprised of Coach Sandhu, Arjuna awardees Mehtab Singh, Mohd Ali Qamar and Gopal Devang.
The eight-member squad for the tournament is: Shiva Thapa (56 Kg), Vikas Krishnan (60 Kg), Manoj Kumar (64 Kg), Mandeep Jangra (69 Kg), Kuldeep Singh (75 Kg), Dinesh Kumar (81 Kg), Manpreet Singh (91 Kg), Paramjeet Samota (91+ Kg).