India is sending several talented boxers to the Olympic Games, all with high hopes of claiming medals and amongst these is 29-year-old five-time AIBA World Champion Chungneijang Mery Kom Hmangte, also known as Mary Kom, who is said to be extremely excited at the prospect of testing her skills against the best in the business on the biggest stage of all. Kom, more than her teammates, carries the hopes of a nation on her shoulders.
The diminutive Flyweight (51kg) made her international debut way back in 2000 and after a long career is ready for her shot at Olympic glory. She took a two-year break from boxing to come back even stronger in 2008. The mother of two has until today claimed five gold medals at the AIBA Women's World Championships to make her the most decorated women's boxer in the history of the sport. Mary Kom moved up two weight classes in the last two years in order to be able to compete at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Kom is part of excellent national set-up and with the rest of the Indian team had been preparing for these much anticipated Olympic Games at a specially arranged two-week long training camp in Ireland. Since June though, active preparations have been made in Patiala, India. The Irish training camp was perfect for them to acclimatize to the local weather conditions and helped them maintain their rhythm and fitness.
Asian Youth Championships silver medallist Laishram Devendro Singh caused a huge surprise last year when he won the National Olympic Trials which resulted in him representing India at the AIBA World Boxing Championships Baku 2011. The 19-year-old Light Flyweight (46-49kg) boxer advanced to the last eight in the Azeri capital and qualified for the Olympic Games where he is expected to impress with his stylish approach.
India's secret weapon will be 18-year-old AIBA Asian Olympic Qualifying Event Astana 2012 winner and Youth Olympic Games silver medallist Shiva Thapa who has all the attributes and the talent to reach at least a bronze in London. The teenager competed and has been very successful at various international events and the team's Head coach expects him to be a revelation at the ExCeL.
27-year-old Asian Championships silver medallist Jai Bhagwan regained his place in the national squad last year and eliminated several strong rivals at the AIBA World Boxing Championships last year which resulted in him obtaining that all important quota. He will be competing in his very first Olympic Games, just as his compatriot, the veteran Commonwealth Games winner Manoj Kumar.
The current AIBA Youth World Champion Vikas Krishan was only 18 when he claimed the gold medal at the Asian Games in Guangzhou and following his successful debut at the elite level, Vikas moved up two weight classes last year and put on six kilograms of muscles. He took a bronze medal in his first ever AIBA World Boxing Championships in Baku and proved he is one of the big medal contenders in London.
The South Asian nation's top Middleweight (75kg) fighter, AIBA World Boxing Championships bronze medallist Vijender Singh was the first ever Indian boxer to win a medal in an Olympic Games. He went on to become a national hero and TV star. Vijender claimed a fantastic bronze in Beijing but now his target is the top of the podium in his third appearance at the Olympic Games. Vijender stated, "Nothing can stop me in London".
India's new Light Heavyweight (81kg) No.1 Sumit Sangwan is only 19 but has got the experience to do very well in the British capital. The Indian teenager also won the AIBA Asian Olympic Qualifying Event Astana 2012 following some great contests against the world's top fighters in his weight class. Both Vijender and Sangwan came from the North Indian state Haryana, which is a region steeped in boxing history.
Look out for the rising boxing power that is India, a quality set-up mixed with a sensational work-rate make these fighters some of the best around.
Copyright © 2012 AIBA http://www.aiba.org