Difficult for many boxers to qualify for Rio after rule change: Gurbaksh Singh Sandhu
The Indian coach expects four boxers to qualify for the Rio Olympics.
India's boxing coach Gurbaksh Singh Sandhu on Friday said it would be difficult to expect many boxers to qualify after the international body changed its Olympic qualification rules.
"It is difficult now because of the change of system of qualifying. Earlier, there was no quota for World Series of boxing (WSB) and APB (AIBA Pro Boxing), but now there are 63 seats. Before in the world championships, quarterfinalists used to qualify," Sandhu said.
"This time even the medallists have not qualified. Right now India does not have any boxer in the WSB and APB so that quota of 63 out of 150 is gone," he added.
Earlier, a pugilist would qualify if they make it to the quarters in a World Championship but under the new Olympic qualification rules even World No.2 Shiva Thapa (56 kilogram), who secured a bronze in the World Championship, is not qualified for the Olympics.
"It is a difficult phase. We expect a total of four boxers to qualify for Rio," Sandhu said.
London Olympics bronze medallist Mary Kom also admitted that the qualification for the Olympics will be tougher, but said, "I will do my best in the ring to make it to Rio".
However, she admitted that the World qualification tournament, which happens to be the World championship in Astana, Kazakhstan from May 19 to May 27, will be tough one compared to the Asia Oceania Olympic qualifying tournament in Qian’an, China which starts from March 23 to April 3.