After the successful culmination of the 12th Senior Nationals in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh – a tournament which witnessed heartening performances by the starlets if Indian boxing – the bandwagon now moved to the rings of NIS Patiala for the National Camp which began on Thursday (27th Oct’11). Over 40 Indian women pugilists embarked on the final phase of IABF's preparation and groundwork chalked out for the London Olympics next year. Chief Coach Anoop Kumar and Coach-in-charge of the core group D Chander Lal will supervise preparation at the camp which will go till the 20th of December. The cream of women’s boxing talent in the country will be part of the core group at the National Camp. The group constitutes of 15 members who have been specifically selected to train for the World Championships, and the 2012 Olympic Games. The AIBA Women’s World Championship that is slated to be held in the Chinese city of Qinhuangdao will act as the only qualifier for the London Olympiad. The top eight boxers in each weight category at the Championships will obtain a quota place within the confines of the number allocated to each continent. Asia has been awarded a quota of eight boxers. In view of the above mentioned facts, coupled with the introduction of the discipline at the biggest sporting arena in the world, boxers’ preparedness for the World Championships becomes ever so vital.
“Participating in the Olympics is a massive opportunity and means a lot especially for women boxer. The height of any athlete’s amateur career is to be an Olympic champion. At London next year, for the first time women pugilists from around the world will get the chance to win an Olympic medal. Therefore every female boxer playing in the Olympic weight category is bound to go all out in her preparation”, expressed Coach D Chander Lal who would be closely measuring the progress of each boxer in the core group.
Talking about the focus areas at the training camp he said that overall development of the boxers will be imperative but emphasis will be given on improving techniques especially with the changed scoring system in place. He added, “We have few veteran boxers in the camp who are adapting well to the new system, but there are a few other who still have room for improvement and need to perfect their approach.”
Five time world champion MC Mary Kom who recently reclaimed the ‘National Champion’ title in Bhopal, will be joining the camp on Friday. The Asian Games bronze medallist faces tough competition in her weight category with the likes of L Sarita Devi and Pinki Jangra. But the Champion, who beat Pinki in the finals of the Nationals, is confident that when the time comes she will be able to pull through. The 28 year old said, “I have performed well in the tournaments that I participated in this year. I am confident that I will do well at the trials, but there is still time and my focus at this point of time is on the training at hand and I hope to make the best of the camp.”
With the idea to provide boxers with adequate international exposure, sparring opportunities and to better acclimatize the athletes with the English weather conditions the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation will be fielding a team for a multinational training cum competition in Sheffield and a Test Event in London next month. The test event scheduled to be held from the 24th of Nov’11 will be played at the Olympic boxing venue and is a part of the ‘London Prepares’ series – a build up to the Games.
The first big challenge for the Indian team though, would be ASBC Asian Boxing Championship which is scheduled to be held in December this year (As per the AIBA calendar). The sixth edition of the event will serve as a preparatory ground for the qualifying event –the world championships. Chief Coach Kumar considers the continental championship to be instrumental and said the tournament will give Indian boxers an opportunity to access the level of competition that Asia offers. He further added, “We have performed exceptionally at the Asian Championships over the years. Although the competition would be stiff this time around but we hope to do well again. Moreover the event will be a good exposure for the girls and it will allow us to further assess our pugilists”.