India finished second in the overall medal table of the 2010 Commonwealth Games which was hosted in their home country, and they will need a strong boxing medal turnout to rival their record in the 2014 edition of the Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
Their eleven-strong squad contains three tough women’s athletes, and eight experienced men’s boxers, including five London 2012 Olympic Games competitors, and two Asian Champions.
India’s team are well regarded and successful in international boxing, and they will be expecting top results and golden moments in Glasgow.
What: Commonwealth Games
Where: Glasgow, Scotland
When: 23 July – 3 August, 2014
The Tension and the Drama
Pinky Jangra caused a surprise last month when she defeated India’s national legend, and five-time AIBA World Champion and London 2012 Olympic Games bronze medallist Chungneijang Mark Kom Hmangte in their selection trial, to ensure her selection for the Games.
Jangra has competed in various international events, but is still inexperienced at the top level, and with the added pressure of replacing a legend, how will she fare in Scotland?
The next multi-sport event of the year after the Commonwealth Games will the Asian Games, which are scheduled for September.
Therefore, the biggest question for their boxers will be the timing of their form in Scotland – will they be able to compete again in two months?
Ones to watch in the Commonwealth Games
AIBA World Championships quarter-finalist, and London 2012 Olympian, 22-year-old Laishram Devendro Singh took part in the Bocskai Memorial Tournament this February, and claimed a gold medal in the prestigious event in Hungary.
The Light Flyweight class (49 kg) boxer is tipped to replicate that gold in the Commonwealth Games.
Defending ASBC Asian Continental Champion Shiva Thapa is perhaps the Indian delegation’s most realistic chance for the gold medal in Glasgow.
The young Indian fought in the fourth season in the World Series of Boxing, and his experience could see him earn gold.
India’s London 2012 Olympian Manoj Kumar is the current titleholder in the Commonwealth Games at the Light Welterweight class (64 kg), and will give it his all to defend his throne.
Beijing 2008 Olympics bronze medallist Vijender Singh is a national hero and TV star, and defeated AIBA World Championships bronze medallist Vikas Krishan Yadav in the final of their National Selection Trials.
Indian Facts in the Commonwealth Games
The Indian boxing delegation could be one of the most successful teams in the upcoming Commonwealth Games.
Their men’s team also consists of AIBA Asian Olympic Qualifiers winner Sumit Sangwan, who also represented USA Knockouts in the World Series of Boxing.
ASBC Asian Continental Championships Mandeep Jangra, Asian Games silver medallist Dinesh Kumar and Parveen Kumar are also strong members of the team.
Former AIBA Women’s World Champion Sarita Laishram Devi (60 kg), and Asian Games competitor Pooja Rani (75 kg) will also represent India.
India’s history in the event
The Indian boxers took part in the Commonwealth Games for the very first time in Cardiff, Wales in 1958.
Their first medal was a bronze medal, and was delivered by Shivaji Bhonsle in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1970.
India’s first ever boxing gold in the Games was acquired by Mohamed Ali Qamar at the Light Flyweight class in Manchester in 2002.
Since then, Akhil Kumar also bagged a gold medal in 2006, while in the last edition of the Commonwealth Games held in India, three of their athletes won gold medals.