‘Important to study skills of Asian boxers’
New Delhi: As the 10-member strong Indian contingent gears up for the women’s World boxing championships, which will begin in Ulan Ude (Russia) this Thursday, the Indian coaching staff will use the event as an opportunity to gain valuable information about the gameplan of the Asia/Oceania region boxers, who are going to pose a tough challenge to the country’s pugilists at the first Olympic qualifiers for the Tokyo Games to be held in Wuhan, China from February 3 to 14.
India’s chief foreign coach, Raffaele Bergamasco, said boxers from China, North Korea, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Italy and Russia will be the biggest hurdles for the Indian women boxers at the Wuhan qualifiers. “In this scenario, it’s imperative to observe the game of all opponents from Asia-Oceania region very minutely during the Worlds and then prepare our strategy for the qualifiers. It’s important to get a sense of their technique as the qualifiers will be very tough,” Bergamasco told TOI.
The Ulan Ude meet will not offer any quota place for Tokyo. The IOC will conduct the first qualifier for Asia/Oceania region in Wuhan, followed by an open and final qualifier in Paris from May 13 to 24. Bergamasco is hoping for a good show from boxers at the Worlds, but his focus is on the qualifiers. “I am hoping for Mary Kom (51kg) and Sarita Devi (60kg) to come good at the Worlds. Neeraj Chahal (57kg) and Lovlina (69kg) also have a good chance to secure medals.”
Bergamasco revealed that he is expecting the Wuhan qualifier to be very tough to secure quota places. The Italian is pinning his hopes on the Paris qualifier, which offers a much more realistic chance for Indian boxers to qualify. However, he said that “after the Paris qualifier, he’ll be left with less than two months to prepare and that’s a huge worry”.