‘Im­por­tant to study skills of Asian box­ers’

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Sport - Sabi.Hus­[email protected] times­group.com

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”.

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