India’s top men and women boxers will travel to Italy and France for a 52-day period from October to December for training and participation in international competitions. The training has been sanctioned by the government at a cost estimated to be around Rs. 1.31 crores.
A 28 member contingent will travel which include 10 male boxers and 6 women boxers along with the support staff. Amongst the boxers who will be participating include Amit Panghal, Ashish Kumar, Satish Kumar, Simranjit Kaur, Lovlina Borgohain and Pooja Rani, all of whom will also compete in the Tokyo Olympics. In the four events where Indian is yet to win a quota in the Olympics, i.e. Mens’ 57 kg, Men’s 81 kg, Men’s 91 kg and Women’s 57 kg, India will still have boxers in the travelling contingent. They will be accompanied by 8 coaches and support staff in the men’s team and 4 coaches and support staff in the women’s team.
Lovlina Borgohain, Women’s 69 kg boxer, stated that she was excited about participating in competitions again and said, “It is very good that we will be getting a feeling of competition again. I am very excited about this. With 10 months to go before the Olympics, getting to compete against European opponents will be really helpful.”
The men’s and women’s boxing team will be training at Assisi, Italy for a period of 52 days from October 15 to December 5. The expenses will include their boarding, lodging, airfare and visa fees. Covid Tests of all 28 players and staff will also be covered under this expense. 13 boxers from the contingent will also participate in the “Alexis Vastine” International Boxing Tournament to be held in Nantes, France from October 28 to October 30.
‘Helpful to play competitions abroad’
Ashish Kumar, Men’s 75 kg boxer said that the training and competitions will be good preparation for the Olympics. He said, “It will be very helpful for us to play against competitors from abroad. We were already at camp in Patiala and regained our fitness, going abroad will really help. When we meet new competitors, we will get an idea of our level. It will help us get a better idea of where we stand and what aspects we need to improve on.”
CA Kutappa, Chief Coach of the Indian Men’s Boxing Team is very happy that the boxers will travel abroad and called the trip an opportunity to assess themselves and find out where they stand against international competition. He said, “At this time last year, we were at peak competition fitness, participating in the World Championships and were training intensely. Thank the government for sanctioning this. The boxers are very happy, they wanted to do something different, they need competition and training. They want to see where they stand compared to the European boxers. This overseas exposure will give a better idea of competition from Europe.”