Vijender skips Cuba training trip
New Delhi: Newly-married Vijender Singh has decided to skip the upcoming training-cum-competition trip to Cuba where 12 other Indian boxers will compete as part of their build-up to the Olympic qualifiers starting in September.
Vijender,who tied the knot last week, will instead train in Patiala during this period.
"I was supposed to go but I have decided that it would be better for me to train here. I will be training in Patiala only," the world number one middleweight boxer explained.
Indian Boxing Federation officials said the star boxer pulled out citing "domestic reasons."
In his absence, the middleweight slot in the team has gone to three-time national champion Kuldeep Singh.
But the likes of Asian Games bronze-medallist Suranjoy Singh (52kg), fit-again Asian Championships silver-medallist Thokchom Nanao Singh (49kg) and Commonwealth Games gold-medalist Paramjeet Samota (+91kg) will be in action in the three-week training and competition at the 41st "Giraldo C’rdova Cardin" -- an International Tournament to be held in Havana from May 24 to June 8.
The 12 boxers would be accompanied by four coaches during the event, which is part of the training program ahead of the Olympic qualifiers beginning with the World Champiopnships in Azerbaijan.
Last year, the Indian team won eight silver and three bronze medals in the event. The 13 boxers who went last year also got a chance to interact with three-time Olympic and six-time world champion, the legendary Felix Savon Fabre.
The light fly weight and the fly weight categories will have two boxers each, representing India.
Commonwealth Games bronze-medallist Amandeep Singh and Nanao will be vying for the yellow metal in the light fly weight division while Suranjoy and Santosh Harijan would be battling it out in the flyweight class.
Nanao, who suffered a hand injury last year, staged a stunning comeback to win the gold at the 34th National Games.
Shiva Thapa (56kg), who recently won a gold medal at an international boxing tournament in Serbia, would be making his first trip to Cuba.
The 17-year-old Youth Olympics silver-medallist will be joined by Asian Games gold medallist Vikas Krishnan (60kg).
Samota (+91kg) along with Asian games silver medallist Dinesh Kumar (81kg) will lead the Indian Challenge in the heavy weight categories.
Manpreet Singh (91kg), who won the silver medal at the Asian Games in China, also made the squad.
The squad: Nanao Singh (49kg), Amandeep Singh (49kg), M Suranjoy Singh (52kg), Santosh Harijan (52kg), Shiva Thapa (56kg), Vikas Krishnan (60kg), Manoj Kumar (64kg), Balwinder Beniwal (69kg), Kuldeep Singh (75kg), Dinesh Kumar (81kg), Manpreet Singh (91kg), Paramjeet Samota (+91kg).