It’s a fight for the coveted national boxing title as the 59th edition of the Sahara Men’s National Boxing Championship returns to the familiar city of Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh. The tournament, considered to be a bastion of nation's best and brightest talent, will once again witness boxers of the country vying for title of National Champion. Over 300 boxers from 35 State and Board teams will battle it out in this edition of the premiere national event. 40 medals will be at stake in the contest that is scheduled to be held from 30th October - 4th November, 2012. The Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium located in the heart of the city of pearls will be the venue for the five day affair.
Apart from providing a perfect platform for champions to prove their mettle and for emerging boxers to display their talent, the annual competition has more to it. The championship will also serve as a selection ground to shortlist players constituting the core group to be trained for the AIBA World Championships in 2013 and other mega events that follow. The National Championships will be a critical piece of qualification process for boxers looking to cement a place in the national training camp that begins on the 15 November 2012, in NIS Patiala, Punjab. The top two pugilists in each weight category will be guaranteed a spot, whereas three more national camp berths will be up for grabs for outstanding performances. Citing the national camp as a substantial incentive for boxers, Head National Coach Gurbux Singh Sandhu described the 2012 Sahara National Boxing Championships as effectively being a melting pot of boxing talent with an abundance of opportunities for national coaches to identify talent. “There is no dearth of talent in our country, we have a lot of young boxers who have come up the ranks and will be looking to make an impact at the national stage. This tournament will be very significant in terms of talent scouting, it helps us identify boxers and strengthen our bank. Moreover it is also an opportunity for boxers to represent their state and board teams and give something back to their home team”, expressed Coach Sandhu.
A view echoed by IABF Secretary General, Mr Rajesh Bhandari. He said, “The national championship this year will see a lot of new faces who are expected to give a tough fight to the veterans of the sport”. Talking about the rise of the sport in the country he further stated, “Boxing has gained a lot of momentum over the last few of years, we now have to carry forward this drive by generating and maintaining the flow of fresh talent coming into the sport. The senior nationals, have over the years, worked as an instrumental cog in identifying talent; we now intend to assume a greater role in strengthening the domestic level of the sport through national tournaments in order to realize our objective for Rio 2016”. The59th Senior National Boxing Championships is being organised by the Andhra Pradesh State Boxing Association under the aegis of Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) and is the last national championship for men in the IABF calendar for the year 2012
A fierce competition is expected in the tournament with 2011 Champions Railways gearing up to defend the National title for a sixth consecutive time. This time though a robust services team is expected to create a few hurdles in their way. In spite of the absence of 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallists Manoj Kumar (64kg) and Paramjeet Samota (+91kg), Railways coach Jaydev Bisht is confident of replicating last year’s success. He is banking on the experience of Commonwealth Games bronze medal winner Amandeep Singh (49kgs) and multiple national champion Dilbagh Singh (69kg) – who makes his return to the national circuit after a year and a half long hiatus – along with the likes of Kuldeep Singh (75kg) and Jasbir Singh (91kg) to do the damage. He said, “Yes there is no doubt that the absence of Manoj and Paramjeet will be a setback but we have been preparing well and have a strong side. I am confident of continuing our winning streak this year as well”. The Services team, which missing Olympian Devendro Singh (49kg) and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Suranjoy Singh (52kg) are as confident and seem all set to dethrone the champions. Coach Narender Rana said, “Both team are missing some important players, but I am confident of good performance from our team; on paper we seem to have the edge and we intend to translate that on to the canvas”. The Services team this year boasts of player like 2010 Asian Games silver medallists Manpreet Singh (91kg) and V Santosh Kumar among its ranks. 2008 Youth World Boxing Championship gold medallist Nanao Singh (49kg) will once stake a claim at the light fly weight national title. Chhote lal Yadav (56kg) and Madan Lal will (52kg) also be seen in action.