London Olympics disappointment will motivate boxers to do well: Sandhu
Indian boxing has been going through a turbulent phase. The mens' team failed to medal at the London Olympics and the Indian Boxing Federation has since been banned by the international body. The World Championships, which begin in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on Monday, thus have added importance for the sport in India. Speaking to The Indian Express, national coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu says Indian boxing needs a medal boost. Excerpts.
How do you see the upcoming World championships?
It is the first major competition after the London Olympics for Indian boxers and it will be a tough challenge for us. We have a mixed squad with experienced boxers like Vijender, Manpreet and Manoj Kumar and youngsters like Shiva Thapa and Satish. More than 500 boxers will take part in the championships, so it will be tough for us.
Vijender winning a World Championship bronze medal in 2009 and Vikas Krishan in 2011? How do you rate our chances this time?
The last two world championships saw us going as underdogs, playing without any pressure. This time, after the disappointment in London, the boxers are eager to perform well, and I believe this will motivate them a lot. The young boxers like Shiva Thapa and Mandeep Jangra will have an advantage. Vijender has also been training hard for the event. One cannot rule him out as he is a champion boxer and has made many comebacks in his career.
India missed out on a medal in boxing in London. How important this phase is for Indian boxers?
Very crucial. Look at Indian wrestlers. They added one more medal from Beijing and we draw motivation from them. We have not played many tournaments after Olympics but the young boxers won the championship in Cyprus and we also won five medals at the Asian Championships this year. Shiva Thapa (who won gold at the Asian Championships) has shown his talent at the Asian level and the Asian gold has boosted his confidence a lot. This phase is very important for us.