Although they could not compete under the national flag due to the provisional suspension of the Indian Boxing Federation (IBF), the Indian boxers shone so brightly at the 58th Bocskai International tournament in Hungary that the organisers have handed them a permanent invite for the event.
The Indians, competing under the International Boxing Association (AIBA) flag, clinched a gold, a silver and two bronze medals to finish fourth among 22 countries.
Sumit Sangwan (81kg) and Sunil Kumar (57kg) walked away with bronze medals.
“We finished fourth among 22 teams and it is a performance I am thoroughly proud of,” national coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu told PTI after the team’s return from Debrecen, Hungary on Monday.
“The organisers were so impressed with the way the Indian boxers performed that they have extended a permanent invitation to us; they want our boys to be there every year. It is truly a remarkable achievement for us,” said the visibly ecstatic coach.
It has been a tough time for the Indian boxers with the IBF suspension meaning that they have had to resign themselves to not being able to compete under the Indian flag.
The boxers though deserve huge praise for having continually put in good performances at most international tournaments that they have taken part in.
“All credit to the boys for this. The training at the national camp has continued without interruption thanks to the Sports Authority of India and the boys have remained focussed, they have remained determined,” said Sandhu.
The pugilists have also had to get acclimatized to a 10-point scoring system similar to professional boxing as well as competing without the protective head-guard.
“They are adjusting well to the rule changes. The more we compete, the better we will get at handling the changes. The boys are giving good results which means it is not such a big deal after all,” said Sandhu.