Vijender aims London qualification first, medal hopes later
New Delhi: Left with just one chance to qualify for the Olympics, top Indian boxer Vijender Singh says he is not thinking beyond making a berth in London Games.
Besides Vijender, the Asian Championships at Astana, Kazakhstan, in April would be the only chance for the likes of Akhil Kumar, Dinesh Kumar and Suranjoy Singh to book a ticket to London.
Out of the 56 quota places allocated to Asia, 25 will be up for grabs at the Asian Championships.
"It obviously makes a difference to know the numbers, but at this point of time my only focus is the continental qualifiers and to do whatever it takes to secure an Olympic quota. I will try my level best rest is up to God," Vijender said.
Vijender lost in first round of 2011 World Championships in Baku at the hands of Cuba`s Emilio Correa but the former world number one Indian will be looking to make amends at Astana.
Vijender, if selected in the trails for the Asian Championships, will have a decent opportunity to secure a quota place as the middle weight category has got five Olympic berths to offer.
For Akhil, who is currently training in Pune for the next round of World Series Boxing, this might just be his last attempt at an Olympic medal.
The 2008 Olympics quarter-finalist recently recovered from a calf injury and will be looking to book a London berth in the Asian Championships.
If selected in the Indian squad, with just three quota places available in his weight division, he would have to bring out all his reserves to just qualify for the London Games -- a fact that might seem to put a tremendous amount of pressure on the 30-year-old.
"There is no pressure, although I know this might be the last time I compete in the Olympics or attempt for a medal. All I can do is prepare well with the right intentions and intensity and that`s exactly what I am doing," said Akhil, the 2006 Commonwealth Games gold medallist.
The litmus test for the Indian boxers looking to qualify for the Olympics will be the selection trial scheduled to be held next month, which will determine the team travelling to Astana.
Four Indian boxers -- Vikas Krishan (69kg), Manoj Kumar (64kg), Jai Bhagwan (60kg) and rookie L Devendro Singh (49kg) -- have qualified for the London Olympics from the World Championships in Baku in October last year.
Fourty boxers are engaged in a honing their skills at the NIS Patiala under the watchful eyes of chief national coach GS Sandhu.
Sandhu said that the training has been divided into two groups, one for the boxers who have qualified and the other for the rest of the weight categories.
"This is the final stretch leading up to the Olympics which is our main objective. We have drawn specific plans that involve individual training for each boxer. Every coach is handling not more than 2-3 boxers, to make sure the boys peak at the right time so as to achieve the desired objectives," he said.