New Delhi: A fit-again Thokchom Nanao Singh and rising pugilist Shiva Thapa are the strong medal bets in a 10-member Indian boxing team that left for Khabarovsk, Russia on Monday to compete in the Konstantin Korotkov Memorial International tournament scheduled from May 15 to 20.
Former Asian Championships silver-medallist Nanao, who did not compete at all last year while recovering from injuries, would compete in the 49kg division.
"The injuries are behind me now and hopefully this tournament would give a fresh start to my career," said Nanao, a 2008 youth world champion.
The 19-year-old Shiva (56kg) is also coming off a long break from competition given that his previous international event was the London Olympics last year.
"It has been a long break because international suspension meant that we did not go for a few events. Let`s hope everything falls in place soon so that we can go and compete more often," he said.
Also there would be Asian Games silver-medallist V Santhosh Kumar (64kg) along with multiple-time national champion Kuldeep Singh (75kg).
"It would be good exposure because we do need to be competitive given that the World Championship is just around the corner (in October)," said India`s Cuban coach Blas Iglesias Fernandes, who is accompanying the team.
The Team: Thokchom Nanao Singh (49kg), Sunil Kumar (52kg), Shiva Thapa (56kg), Vikas Malik (64kg), V Santhosh Kumar (64kg), Dilbag Singh (69kg), Kuldeep Singh (75kg), Rahul (81kg), Jasveer Singh (91kg) and Satish Kumar (+91kg).
It has been a very tough decision for me to make which is why I have given it so much thought since the World Cup.