The Indian boxing team takes the maximum number of thirteen athletes to the Asian Games in Incheon, which will be their second large multisport event of 2014 following their Commonwealth Games appearance in Glasgow two months ago.
The Tension and the Drama
India’s five-time AIBA Women’s World Champion and four-time Asian Champion Chungneijang Mary Kom Hmangte could not fight in the Commonwealth Games due to her loss to Pinky Jangra Rani in their national trial event.
The 31-year-old Indian star prepared for the second selection event with full-speed, and received the right to fight in the Asian Games in Incheon.
London 2012 Olympic Games bronze medallist Mary Kom is a legendary women’s boxer who has recently had a film made about her life.
The Police officer is one of the top favourites of the Women’s Flyweight class (51 kg), but can she keep her winning spirit against the younger athletes in the Asian Games?
Ones to watch in the event
India’s Light Flyweight class (49 kg) number Devendro Laishram Singh came to prominence three years ago when he reached the Top 8 at the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan.
The London 2012 Olympian was a silver medallist at the 2013 ASBC Asian Continental Championships in Amman, and he is among the favourites next to Kazakhstan’s Birzhan Zhakipov, Uzbekistan’s Hasanboy Dusmatov, China’s Lu Bin and Korea’s Shin Jong Hun.
Super talented Shiva Thapa claimed a gold medal at the 2013 ASBC Asian Continental Championships following his excellent youth career.
He failed to medal in the Commonwealth Games two months ago, but he will aim to perform better in Incheon.
Beijing 2008 Olympic Games quarter-finalist Akhil Kumar is a veteran athlete who has returned to the world of boxing after a long break, and therefore it is hard to forecast his form due to his lack of bouts in the recent years.
Beijing 2008 Olympic bronze medallist Vijender Singh was injured recently, so Vikash Krishan received the right to replace him at the Middleweight class (75 kg).
The 22-year-old boxer was a gold medallist at the 2010 AIBA Youth World Championships, and was a surprise winner at the last edition of the Asian Games in Guangzhou at the age of 18.
Since those events he moved up three weight classes, and is looking for another gold medal here.
India’s team in the event
Women’s 51 kg: Chungneijang Mary Kom Hmangte
Women’s 60 kg: Sarita Laishram Devi
Women’s 75 kg: Pooja Rani
Men’s 49 kg: Devendro Laishram Singh
Men’s 52 kg: Gaurav Bidhuri
Men’s 56 kg: Shiva Thapa
Men’s 60 kg: Akhil Kumar
Men’s 64 kg: Manoj Kumar
Men’s 69 kg: Mandeep Jangra
Men’s 75 kg: Vikash Krishan Yadav
Men’s 81 kg: Kuldeep Singh
Men’s 91 kg: Amritpreet Singh
Men’s +91 kg: Satish Kumar
India’s fact of the event
Six changes have been made in the Indian boxing team in comparison to their line-up in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
India’s history in the event
The Indian boxing team competed in the first boxing tournament of the second edition of the Asian Games in 1954, and their first medals were delivered by Hari Singh and Sundar Rao in Tokyo four years later in 1958.
The Indian national boxing team has achieved altogether 50 medals including their seven titles in the history of the Asian Games.
India’s Padam Bahadur Mall claimed their first boxing gold in 1962 when he defeated Japan’s Kanemaru Shiratori in the final of the Lightweight class (60 kg) in Jakarta, and India’s second largest city Delhi hosted the Asian Games in 1982 when Kaur Singh won the Heavyweight class (91 kg) on home soil.
Dingko Singh claimed the gold medal at the 54 kg weight class in Bangkok in 1998 in a surprise triumph.
Their strong national team claimed two gold and three silver medals in the last edition of the Asian Games in Guangzhou in 2010, which was their best ever performance in the boxing tournament.
One of their titleholders, Vikash Krishan Yadav will compete again in Incheon.