Indian boxers leave for AIBA China Cup

Updated: Apr 02, 2010, 21:29 PM IST

New Delhi: South Asian Games gold medallist
Chhote Lal Yadav and Olympian Diwakar Prasad are the best bet
for medal in the eight-member Indian boxing team which left
today for the AIBA 3 Star China Cup starting April 5 in
Guiyang city.

Diwakar, a feather weight boxer until 2008, returns to
the ring in the 60kg category after two years in wilderness.

The last time he was seen in action was the second Asian
Olympic qualifiers in Thailand in 2008 where he missed the bus
for Beijing.

His career headed southwards thereafter and though he is
in the core group of boxers for Commonwealth Games, he hasn`t
competed in any international tournament since 2008.

Lack of international exposure in the past two years has
made Diwakar slightly jittery.

"It`s been more then two years. A new weight category, an
all new format of three minutes of three rounds each to deal
with... it would be quite a challenge," said the 25-year-old,
whose form was also affected by a bout of Typhoid in 2008.

Meanwhile, Yadav would be India`s feather weight (57kg)
medal contender in the event, which will have at least 25
countries in fray. The 24-year-old missed out on an Asian
Championship gold medal by a whisker last year.

Yadav, who won the gold medal in the South Asian Games in
Dhaka at the start of the year, has been included in the team
in place of Olympian Jitender Kumar who was down with an ear
injury and also had his college examinations to deal with.

Jasveer Singh (81kg), a two-time national champion, would
be aiming to make a mark in a category which Commonwealth
Championship gold medallist and Olympian Dinesh Kumar has made
his own in the past one year.

Others in the team include former Commonwealth
Championship gold medallist Sunil Kumar (51kg) and two-time
national champion Kuldeep Singh (75kg).

A kabaddi player before the boxing bug bit him in 2005,
Kuldeep hopes to be a challenger to Olympic and World
Championship bronze medallist Vijender Singh for a place in
Team India.

"I only lose to him in nationals and trials. If I do well
in this tournament, I would get that confidence to face up to
him and challenge him for a place in the Indian team," the
21-year-old said.

The China Cup will feature the hosts` Olympic gold
medallists Shiming Zou (48kg) and Xiaoping Zhang (81kg) along
with boxers from traditional powerhouses like Cuba and Russia.

The Team: Sunil Kumar (51kg), Santhosh Singh (54kg),
Chhote Lal Yadav (57kg), Diwakar Prasad (60kg), Lakhbir Singh
(64kg), Jai Singh Patil (69kg), Kuldeep Singh (75kg) and
Jasveer Singh (81kg).