No gold, but target achieved for Indian boxers in Kazakhstan
New Delhi: They didn`t strike gold but it was mission accomplished for India`s Olympics-bound male boxers during the training-cum-competition trip to Kazakhstan as national coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu said the primary task of identifying weaknesses was completed ahead of the big event.
India`s seven Olympics-bound boxers, along with a few others, trained for close to a fortnight in the Kazakh city of Almaty and returned to the country in the wee hours this morning.
Of those who have qualified for the Olympics, only L Devendro Singh (49kg) managed to get a medal in Alamty, fetching a silver, but Sandhu said the purpose of the trip was not to win medals but to get exposure and work on past mistakes and shortcomings.
"We fulfilled what we set for ourselves. I told my boys that their focus should be on performance and medals would be a bonus," Sandhu said.
"These boys were under tremendous pressure during the qualification tournaments and they needed some recovery. This trip provided them with that. Our boxers did some controlled sparring, school fights and free bouts and we identified the shortcomings in their techniques," he added.
Eleven countries took part in the competition and the Indians got an idea of what awaits them at the Olympics.
"We got access to southpaw boxers, who are a rarity in India. We checked out boys who have qualified for the Olympics. We made recordings and all this will set us up for the Olympics," said Sandhu.
"Now the focus is on covering the weak points and perfecting the strong points," added the team`s Cuban coach B I Fernandes.
Seven Indian boxers -- Devendro, Shiva Thapa (56kg), Jai Bhagwan (60kg), Manoj Kumar (64kg), Vikas Krishan (69kg), Vijender Singh (75kg) and Sumit Sangwan (81kg) -- make up an unprecedented seven-strong Indian boxing contingent for the Olympics.
The boys said they are better boxers after the trip as they continue their build-up for London.
"I got good knowledge of my prospective opponents in London. Training with different opponents, I also realised that I have to continue working on my foot movement and right punches. My accuracy has improved and I have always been quick inside the ring," said Devendro, who turned 20 today.
"Competing against variety of opponents helped me sort out my shortcomings and I will ensure that I don`t repeat these mistakes during the Olympics," added the 19-year-old Sumit.
After spending some time training in Patiala now, the boxers will head to London for another 10-day training stint.
"We will not train at the Olympic venue but just being there in London for a few days will left a lot of mental blockades. The boys will get a feel of the conditions. This trip is planned for the second week of June," said Sandhu.