New Delhi: Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Paramjeet Samota (+91kg) and Olympic-qualified L Devendro Singh (49kg) will spearhead a 10-strong Indian challenge at the International Boxing Tournament in Almaty, Kazakhstan starting from Tuesday.
The team leaves tonight for the five-day event which, according to national coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu, is part of the build-up process for the London Olympics.
The tournament boasts of teams such as Russia and France apart from India and hosts Kazakhstan.
The 23-year-old Samota, who claimed his fifth successive national title in December last year, will be looking to make amends for the first-round defeat he suffered at the AIBA World Championships in Azerbaijan last year.
"This event and a couple of more after this will be part of the build-up process for the Olympics. The boys who have qualified for Olympics will get the much-needed international practice while those who haven`t, will get the exposure for the future," Sandhu said.
Also part of the squad is Asian Games silver-medallist Manpreet Singh (91kg). The burly boxer would be aiming to get in shape for the Asian Olympic qualifiers scheduled in April which will offer just one slot in his category.
The 19-year-old Devendro, who created a flutter by qualifying for the Olympics in the World Championships – his first senior international event, will be competing for the first time after that remarkable performance.
Devendro is the only one among the four Olympic-qualified Indian boxers to be going for this event.
"Jai Bhagwan was supposed to go but he had a shoulder problem, while Manoj Kumar and Vikas Krishan had hand niggles. We didn`t want to take a chance with them. Even Devendro has a slight back problem but he is fit to compete as exposure is the prime focus of this trip," said Sandhu
The complete squad for the tournament is as follows:
L Devendro Singh (49 Kg), Sunil Kumar (52 Kg), Chhote Lal Yadav (56 Kg), Vinay Kumar (60 Kg), M Thomas (64 Kg), Vijay Kumar (69 Kg), Kuldeep Singh (75 Kg), Sumit Sangwan (81 Kg), Manpreet Singh (91 Kg), Paramjeet Samota (+91 Kg).