India’s boxing campaign in the 2014 Incheon Asian Games got off to bright start with Akhil Kumar and Shiva Thapa reaching the second round of their respective weight categories at the Seonhak Gymnasium. Akhil, who made a surprise comeback at the age of 33 after three years of international wilderness owing to injury, outboxed Nepal’s Purna Bahadur Lama to sail into the round of 16 in the lightweight category (60-kg). The 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games gold medallist is bandied about as a strong medal hope and the 2008 Beijing Olympic quarterfinalist is looking good to go all the distance.
Earlier, Shiva Thapa entered the second round of the bantamweight category (56-kg). Shiva, wearing the red attire progressed to the round of 16 after receiving a walkover from Parada Helo Leonel of Timor Leste. The 20-year-old Assam lad will be feeling good about crossing the first hurdle after coming a cropper in the opening round of the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Shiva, who had become the youngest India to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics and subsequently went down in the first round, will be next up against Nadir of Pakistan on Friday.
Indian boxers will be looking to put on a stellar performance after capping a splendid effort at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, where they won five medals including four silver medals and a bronze – they created history as for the first time four Indians reached the final of the Commonwealth Games.
Besides Akhil and Shiva, India have eight other male boxers in the fray. 2010 New Delhi Commonwealth Games gold medallist Manoj Kumar will feature in the light welterweight category (64-kg). 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games silver medallist Mandeep Jangra will play in the welterweight category (69-kg. London Olympic quarterfinalist and 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games silver Laishram Devendro Singh will box in the light flyweight category (51-kg), while Gautam Bhiduri will feature in the flyweight category (52-kg). 2010 Asiad gold medallist Vikas Krishnan will play in the middleweight category (75-kg), while Kuldeep Singh will box in the in the light heavyweight category (81-kg). Amritpreet Singh and Satish Kumar will fight in the heavyweight (91-kg), and super heavyweight categories (+91-kg).
MC Mary Kom, L Sarita Devi and Pooja Rani are the three women boxers in the fray.Published 24 Sep 2014, 18:26 IST