New Delhi: An eight-member Indian team, including national champion Madal Lal, left the capital on Thursday to participate in the second Shaheed Benazir Bhutto
international boxing tournament which got underway at Islamabad, Pakistan.
The tournament will feature a total of 132 boxers from 18 nations including Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Ghana, India, Iran, Kenya, Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Uganda, Uzbekistan and hosts Pakistan.
Leading the Indian charge would be Madal Lal (49kg), who bagged a silver medal at the Tammer Cup in Finland. The 20-year-old looks in good rhythm and is keen on making his mark once again.
"I have had a decent run with my second National Championship gold medal and a silver medal in Finland. This tournament will provide a good opportunity for me to rub shoulder with some good boxers and I am looking forward to returning with a favourable result," he said.
The second edition of the event will also see the likes of National Games gold medallist Sandeep Kankerwal (60kg) and National Games silver medallist Parminder Singh (81kg).
With an idea to provide upcoming boxers with adequate international exposure and opportunity to excel at the global arena, the IABF has fielded a fairly young team, with little or no international experience.
National Coach GS Sandhu believes participation in these competitions plays a vital role in the development of boxers and works as a means to improve their performance and grades at the national camps.
"International exposure always builds an athlete`s confidence and performance and this tournament will offer good competition for our pugilists," Sandhu said.
"These boxers are number three or four in their weight category and it is imperative for them to keep getting international match practice and be motivated by excelling at such events. It is a policy that helps us strike a balance of opportunities and keeps the boxers going," Sandhu added.
The event being played at the Liaquat Gymnasium Sports Complex in Islamabad will offer a prize of 5,000 US Dollars to the team finishing first and 2,000 USD for the runners up squad along with cash incentives for individual medal winners.
Last year in January, the Indian Boxing Federation had sent a second string team to take part in the first edition of the tournament and the side returned with two bronze medals.
The event is being organised by the Pakistan Boxing Federation in collaboration with International Boxing Association (AIBA) and Asian Boxing Confederation (ASBC).