Indian Boxers created history at the AIBA World Boxing Championships at Baku last night by putting up sterling performances against world class boxers and ensuring that 4 Indians are through to the London Olympics 2012. In the evening session yesterday, Jai Bhagwan (60 kgs) and Vikas Krishan (69 kgs) joined their compatriots Devendro Singh (49 kgs) and Manoj Kumar (64 kgs) who had already qualified in the morning session.
In the evening session Jai Bhagwan went in with a plan to attack his opponent 7th seeded David Joyce of Ireland and try and notch up a valuable lead. He did succeed as he took a convincing lead of 13:8 pts by the end of round 1. However, the Irish lad came back strongly in round 2 and had Jai Bhagwan against the ropes on a couple of occasions and virtually won the second round and thus reduced Jai Bhagwan?s lead to just 20:18. Jai Bhagwan looked a bit tired and was warned by the Referee for Holding. In round 3 Jai Bhagwan managed to recover his composure and scored valuable body blows against the Irish. The 3rd round was scrappy as Jai Bhagwan was again warned for Holding while the Irish boxer was warned twice by the Referee for butting with his head. It was tense moment for the Indian Camp while waiting for the result to be announced and finally Jai Bhagwan was declared the winner on pts 32:30 and qualified for the London Olympics 2012.
In the other pre quarter final bout of the evening, Vikas Krishan (69 kgs) played very intelligently to outwit Sipal Onder of Turkey on pts 14:7. This Turkish boxer was the last hope for the Turks to get atleast one boxer to qualify for the London Olympics from this World Championships. Hence there was a huge cheering party including the locals from Azerbaijan who were rooting for Onler. Indian Camp was ably supported by members of the Indian Embassy with their families and other families who are working in Oil Companies here alongwith the Indian students in Baku. Vikas scored valuable pts with telling blows to the head and body of Sipal Onder and took a slender lead of 5:3 pts in round 1. In round 2 Vikas used his superior ringcraft and kept moving well to remain away from the swinging punches of Onler and at the same time scored with crisp counter punches to increase the lead to 10:5 by the end of the round. By round 3, Vikas knew that he had the bout in his pocket and teasingly invited his opponent to attack and countered his moves intelligently to win on pts 14:7 and qualified for London Olympics.
The Indian support staff lead by Chief Coach GS Sandhu, Cuban Coach Fernandez, Coaches Jaydev Bisht and Ramanand, Team Doctor Dr Abhishek Chowdary and Physio Hari Shankar Varma have toiled in earnest day and night at Baku enduring great hardships by foregoing meals at times and working out late at night as well as early morning to ensure that the boxers got the best of everything and were in great shape to do their job of fighting and winning their bouts. The sessions were grueling during the past three days and since the Indian Team was in a Hotel which was more than half an hour journey from the Venue, we had to take a room in Hotel Europe which was just 500 mtrs away from the stadium for 3 days. It really helped as those who had bouts in the morning session like Devendro and Manoj benefitted from this move.
It is indeed a great moment for the Army Sports Institute (ASI), Pune that two of their Boys Sports Company trainees ie. Devendro Singh and Vikas Krishan have qualified for the London Olympics. It was unfortunate that Shiva Thapa (56 kgs) another product from Army Sports Institute, Pune did not make it to the Indian Team for this World Championship but he must be pleased to hear that World No.1 Dalakliev Detelin of Bulgaria whom he had defeated in an International Tournament in Belgrade last month to win the Gold Medal, has now qualified for the London Olympics from Baku. Shiva Thapa can now set sight for the next Qualifying Tournament which will be in Kazakhstan in April 2012. It was quite touching to see Vikas Krishan calling his Coach and Mentor Subedar Rajendra More of Bombay Sappers on telephone immediately after winning his bout to give him the good news about his victory.
After the pre quarter final bouts last night, AIBA has announced that 64 boxers have so far qualified from baku for London Olympics. Russia and Ukraine have 5 boxers each, while Cuba, India, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have 4 boxers each. From Asia, China, Korea and Mongolia have qualified 2 boxers each while Iran, Japan, Tajikistan and Thailand have qualified 1 boxer each.
This will be India?s best performance in any World Championships or Olympic qualifiers so far as only Antharesh Lakra had qualified in the Chicago world Championships before Being Olympics. In the afternoon session today Devendro Singh (49 kgs) will take on Shin Jong of Korea while Manoj Kumar (64 kgs) will play against Thomas Stalker of England. In the evening session, Jai Bhagwan (60 kgs) will play against Zhailov Gani of Kazakhstan while Vikas Krishan (69 kgs) will take on Belous Vasili of Moldova.
Indian Amateur Boxing Federation President Mr Abhay Singh Chautala has congratulated the Indian Team and the Coaches and Support Staff for a fabulous performance at the AIBA World Championships at Baku and wished them good luck for their quarter final bouts. He said that it would be a proud moment for the National Anthem to be played at this World Championship by our boxers winning Gold Medals.
Mr Sandeep Jajodia, Managing Director & Chairman of Monnet Group (Monnet Ispat Energy Limited) congratulated the Indian Boxers and Indian Boxing Federation for the stupendous performance at the World Championships. He said that he was elated and proud to be a part of the Winning Team as MONNET is the Team and Kit Sponsors of the Indian Boxing Team. He stated that MONNET would support Indian Boxing Federation in their quest for medals at the London Olympics 2012 as well as programmes to develop Boxing in India.
Mr Shailender Singh, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Percept D?Mark congratulated the boxers and IABF for an unbelievable performance at Baku and hoped that Indian Boxers will keep up the tempo and win more accolades. Percept is Indian Amateur Boxing Federation?s Marketing Partner and helps in promotion of Boxing in India.
Mr Udit Seth, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Trans Stadia who are the owners of the Indian WSB Franchise ? Mumbai Fighters? congratulated the Indian Boxing Team and the Federation for a wonderful performance at the World Championships. He and Trans Stadia Vice President Mr Nitin Beri have arrived at Baku to witness the World Boxing Championships as well as participate in WSB International Boxers draft which will take place on 06 Oct which will be a rest day for World Championships. There will be a pool of International boxers who will be identified on the basis of performances at this World Championships and the different Franchises would be able to pick up Foreign boxers to represent their teams in WSB matches. India?s first WSB match will be a home match on 11-12 November 2011 against Milano Thunders, Italy. With the fine showing by Indian Boxers at the World Championships, Mr Udit Seth is buoyant that the Mumbai Fighters will be a force to reckon with in this season?s WSB.
Incidentally, I will be returning to India on 06 Oct morning ie. tomorrow, and so I will be sending today?s report and photos at night after the bouts. I am sure that you will get your updates from the AIBA website as well as our Coaches and other officials here. AIBA has also started showing the bouts live on You Tube from yesterday onwards which is indeed great news for the boxing aficionados in India.