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Tough World Championship qualifying rules will hurt Indian boxers

Suhrid Barua
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Modified 01 Sep 2015, 11:23 IST
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India boxing
Indian boxing has a tough road to the Olympics

The 2015 Asian Boxing Championships is being billed as the ‘toughest’ Asian Championship so far thanks to the International Boxing Federation’s (AIBA) move to prune the number of qualifying slots for the 2015 AIBA World Championship from this Asian Championship. The 2015 AIBA World Championship will be held in Doha next month and a month before the marquee event, the 2015 Asian Boxing Championships is turning out to be a tense affair for all Asian countries, not just India.

AIBA’s decision to block Olympic quota places for winners of its semi-professional league – World Series of Boxing means qualification berths in each weight category from the ongoing Asian Boxing Championships will considerably reduce unlike earlier times when a quarterfinal finish guarantees a World Championship spot.

No wonder, one cannot fault anyone if there is any anxiety among the boxers – lesser qualification slots in each category means boxers are now not even sure of World Championship qualification even after reaching the semifinal. AIBA’s new qualification norms for the 2015 AIBA World Championship sees only 66 quota places for the Asian contingent.

Asia has got seven quota places from 49 kg up to the 81 kg categories including the host nation of the AIBA World Boxing Championships Qatar. For the highest two categories – 91 kg and +91 kg – Asia has only five quotas.

No clarity regarding the new AIBA rules

The fact that the 2015 Asian Boxing Championships has a record 188 boxers from 28 nations slugging it out shows how high the stakes are at the event being held in Bangkok. The latest AIBA rules are not clear cut and even Indian boxing head coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu was left unsure how things actually works.

“I don’t have clarity about how many boxers will qualify from each category. I have heard only the medalists and winners of box-off will make it to the World Championship,” he had said before the team left for Bangkok.

Currently, 8 Indian pugilists have made it to the quarter-finals. Devendro Singh (49 kg), Madan Lal (52 kg), Manoj Kumar (64 kg), Vikas Krishan (75 kg), Kuldeep Singh (81 kg), Manpreet Singh (91 kg) and Satish Kumar (91+ kg) have reached the final 8. However, medal hopes Mandeep Jangra (69 kg) and Manish Kaushik (60 kg) crashed out in the pre-quarters.

One hopes more Indians make it to the semifinals and ride their luck from there on and qualify for the World Championships.

Published 01 Sep 2015, 10:55 IST
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