New Delhi: A silver and a couple of bronze medals is no small feat for a suspended country but India`s junior and youth women`s team coach I V Rao on Monday said the medal count could have been much higher at the just-concluded World Championships if the nation had some official presence.
Back from Albena, Bulgaria, the Indian team had a bronze in the junior event and a silver and a bronze in the youth tournament.
The silver-medallist is a 17-year-old Nikhat Zareen (54kg), who claims to be the lone female boxer from her hometown of Nizamabad in Andhra Pradesh. The bronze medallists are Simranjeet Kaur (60kg, youth) and Asha Roka (48kg, junior).
Rao said most of the close decisions ultimately went against his wards and he felt that it had a lot to do with international suspension imposed on India last year.
"We didn`t have any official support. We were allowed to participate but we could never complain or file a protest in case we felt that the decision should have gone our way," Rao said here.
"If the close decisions had gone our way, we could have easily clinched 2-3 more medals. Even some of opposition teams like Russia came to us after bouts and told us that some decision were hard on us," he added.
That apart, Rao said the competition was also tough, not to mention the new 10-point scoring system, which will take some time for the boxers to make adjustments.
"There were 33 countries and close to 300 boxers, the competition was very tough but our girls fought well and gave good performances," he said.
"The scoring system is different because it is like manual scoring and it no longer just about landing punches. The judges evaluate the boxers on movement, speed and ring-craft," he explained
Zareen, a class 12th student, gave up athletics to pursue boxing with the backing of a supporting father, who himself dabbled in cricket and football for some time.
"I started boxing in 2009 and played my first National Championships in 2010. I got a gold medal and the Best Boxer trophy. I got into boxing after I saw that there were no girl in the boxing competition of a Urban Games that were held in my hometown," she recalled.
"I am the only female boxer in Nizamabad and I train with boys. My immediate family has been very supporting but my relatives do question my passion sometimes, but that`s OK," said the teenager, who wanted to become an air hostess at one stage and now aspires to be an IPS officer.