A six member Indian Boxing team (4 boxers and 2 coaches) , part of the 31 member Indian contingent, left for the Isle of Man to participate in the Commonwealth Youth Games 2011 on Wednesday. The competition slated to be held from the 7th to 13th of September will be one of the most prestigious sporting events ever to be hosted on the island, with a total of 64 Commonwealth nations set to attend. The 4th Youth Commonwealth Games will be contested in seven sporting discipline, including; Athletics, Badminton, Boxing, Cycling, Gymnastics, Rugby 7's & Swimming.
The Youth Games are an effective platform for developing young athletes and giving them an early experience of a multi-sport environment, with many going on to enjoy success at senior level. A view echoed by Brig PK Muralidharan Raja, the Secretary General of Indian Boxing Federation, he further added,
?The Commonwealth Youth Games is a brilliant opportunity for our young athletes to rub shoulders against some of the world?s leading competitors in their age group. The games also help the athletes to better acquaint with competition and pressures involved at the international sporting events?.
The 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games were held in India. Cultural capital of Maharashtra, the city of Pune had the honours of hosting the first Commonwealth Youth Games of Asia. Being the host country India fielded a full boxing team in the previous edition of the tournament. Of the eight weight categories, the Indian pugilists yielded laurels in seven; with three gold medals, one silver and three bronze.
The boxing discipline that kicks off at the Royal Hall in the Villa Marina on Thursday, 8th Sep, 2011, will witness 77 athletes from 30 countries vying for top honours. For the selected boxers who would be representing India at the event, it is a perfect opportunity to get more international exposure under their belt. Coach in charge of the youth team G Manoharan said,
?The event will provide an ideal platform for our boys to excel and make a name in the international arena. Moreover the experience gained here will add value to their repertoire and enhance the confidence of our boxers.?
Talking about India?s chances at the tournament, he added, ?We have four boxers participating this time around and I believe all four are medal contenders. They performed well at the recently concluded Cuban Youth Olympics and I am confident of a good showing in this competition as well?.
Sumit Sangwan a silver medallist at the 2010 Asian Boxing Championships will lead the Indian charge at the games. Sangwan has also featured on the senior tour at the 34th National games where he claimed top honours. Buoyant with confidence the eighteen year old says, ?It is a big opportunity to be representing our country at Youth Commonwealth games and I am sure I am going to do well?. Coach Manoharan also has high hopes for the experienced Delhi Boy and believes he has a good chance of clinching the gold.
Rahul Poonia (49kg), who recently won a gold medal at the Cuba Youth Olympics, is looking build on his international experience via this event. The reigning youth national champion said ?This is my second international event and I want to absorb as much as possible and gradually build my confidence as well as enhance my skills in the ring.?
The complete squad is as follows:
||Light Flyweight (49kg)
||Light Heavyweight (81kg)