A box unchecked
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India's men's boxing contingent in London was its biggest and strongest in history. Yet, the seven boys returned home with no medals. Questionable tactics, poor planning and insufficient support staff are to blame, writes Daksh Panwar.
At a time when the country is basking in the glory of its best-ever medal haul at the Olympics — which, at six, equals what was won in the last seven editions put together — to talk about those that India didn't win might seem contrarian and harsh. It's somewhat like looking at a glass one quarter empty than three quarters full. Then again, take one look into L Devendro Singh's wistful eyes as he watches MC Mary Kom posing with her medal at a felicitation function in Delhi.
In London, he was a bout from an assured bronze, but a 23-18 loss to a tactically superior Irishman, Paddy Barnes, in the 49kg quarterfinal, left him four long, uncertain years from another shot. The loss rankles all the more as Devendro was one of India's star performers across disciplines. On his way to the last eight, the pitbull of a fighter notched up two dominating wins, including one Referee Stops Contest. But when the bell rang for one final time in his quarterfinal, Devendro walked towards his corner knowing he had come up short.
The result also meant the seven-strong Indian men's boxing team, their biggest ever, and most formidable, came back empty handed. The contingent included an Olympic bronze medallist (Vijender Singh), the current World Championships bronze medallist (Vikas Krishan) and a Commonwealth Games gold winner (Manoj Kumar). In Beijing, India had just five, three of whom made the quarters or better. Of the London lot, five reached the last 16 and only two advanced further.
Questionable tactics and poor planning, both of which were most apparent in the talented Vikas Krishan's disastrous first bout against Errol Spence in the 69kg division, may be to blame.
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