At the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games India had won 65 medals, with 9 of them coming from the Indian boxers. The boxing contingent had bagged 2 gold, 3 silver and 4 bronze medals in all. It was Indian boxers best performance in any Asian Games.
The question is: Can Indian Boxers repeat or better their Guangzhou success story?
Indian boxers at Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018:
With a bitter experience at the Rio Olympics, Indian boxers were almost written off post the Rio games. XXI Gold Coast Commonwealth Games were the much needed shot in the arm for Indian boxing team, and they delivered.
At Gold Coast CWG 2018, the Indian boxing contingent won a total of 9 medals, which includes 3 gold, 3 silver and 3 bronze medals, their most successful medal haul at CWG ever. What’s even amazing is that, none of the eight male boxers returned empty-handed, a first in the history of Indian boxing.
The BIG Question:
Though CWG 2018 is a matter of rejoicing, this is certainly not the time for Indian boxers to cool down. The next major sporting event for our puglists is the 2018 Asian Games, to be held from 18th August onwards in the cities of Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia.
The Asian Games are a sort of ‘mini Olympics’, owing to the presence of ultra-competitive, world-class Olympic champions in many events like archery, shooting, badminton, weightlifting etc.
Even in boxing, the Asian boxers, especially from nations like Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan etc., apart from the boxers of China, South Korea, Thailand and Japan, aren’t a cakewalk for any Indian boxer.
Can Indian Boxers do it?
A probable yes.
Being optimistic and going by the level of improvement in Indian boxing from the last few years, we can surely say that Indian boxing is going to do well t at the Asian Games, provided they set the equations right.
Setting the equations right ..
One of the boldest reforms that succeeded at the Commonwealth Games 2018 was weeding out the non performing weight categories to give the best results.
India did away with the light welterweight (64 kgs) and light heavyweight (81 kgs), the boxers from this category had failed to make a significant dent on the world stage.
Another factor in favour of the Indian boxers is their new coach, Santiago Nieva, who has performed wonders for the Indian boxers. Employed only last year, Santiago was instrumental in bringing back a bronze medal from the AIBA World Championships 2017, when Gaurav Bidhuri clinched it in the bantamweight division.
This year, his men’s boxing team went a notch higher, with none of the male boxers returning empty handed, and among them, Gaurav Solanki and Vikas Krishan Yadav even went to the extent of bringing the gold medal.
The things Indian Boxers needs to keep in check..
To put it in the words of Santiago Nieva, there’s a lot more to be done, if India wants to strike big at the Asian Games.
“………Our boxers defeated opponents from strong nations such as England and Ireland, but there will be bigger tests than the Commonwealth Games. The landscape has shifted and Asian boxers are winning more medals at World Championships. Thus for the Asian Games, we would have to up our game considerably….” he said.
Controlling the taste buds of Indian Boxers…
“When you see boxers from other countries, you can see it in their bodies that there’s very little fat, more muscle and hence more power. The food at the camp in Patiala is not the problem. But the boxers tend to enjoy outside food, which is oily and not good for the body. They think, ‘twenty more minutes on the cycle and I’ll be okay.’ It doesn’t work like that,” said Nieva.
Nieva pointed out the tendency of Indian boxers to follow their taste buds.
Indian boxers need to make it a habit that when they’re deciding between tastier and healthier options, they always go for health.
Improved Techniques of Indian Boxers
“We are working on the technique but there’s still room for improvement. Sometimes, you can see that the boxers are not putting enough priority on their main, power punches such as the straight right and the left hook. It should come to them naturally, and that makes the difference in tightly-contested bouts.”said Nieva.
If India needs to perform better than their outing of the 2010 Guangzhou Games, they need to have at least 3 gold medals in their kitty. Though the task is quite uphill, it is not impossible, given the promising boxers like Amit, Manish, Gaurav and Mary Kom.
We hope that Indian boxers are in the best of their spirits, and they perform to their best at the upcoming Asiad.