New Delhi: The $100,000 India Open International Boxing Championship beginning in New Delhi next week provides a perfect platform for the Indian contingent to gear themselves for the 2018 Commonwealth Games by testing their mettle against the best in the sport.
Close to 80 Indian male and female boxers will be participating in the five-day event that also features pugilists from 25 countries including Cuba, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Russia, at the Thyagaraj Stadium from January 28.
The focus will be on 2010 Asian Games gold medallist Vikas Krishan, 2010 Commonwealth Games gold winner Manoj Kumar, bantamweight star Shiva Thapa, World Youth Champion Sachin Sewach and Manish Panwar as the Indian pugilists will not only look to do well in the Indian Open but also impress the selection committee and the coaching panel ahead of the Australia trip in April.
Santiago Nieva, the Performance Director and Chief Coach for the Indian Elite Men’s Team, made it clear in no uncertain terms. “The India Open is the perfect stage for the Commonwealth Games preparation as they will be competing against world class boxers and their performance can be judged,” he said.
“We will be shortlisting the best India boxers here for the final team trial for the Commonwealth Games,” Nieva added.
Olympic bronze medallist and five-time World and Asian champion Mary Kom will be leading the Indian women’s challenge alongwith the seasoned Sarita Devi, Seema Poonia and Sonia Lather and the promising Pwilao Basumatary, Sarjubala Devi and Pooja Rani who won gold medals at the recently concluded National Championship.
More than 40 women boxers will be turning out at the India Open and it will also enable Head Coach of the Indian Elite Women’s Boxing, Shiv Singh to assess his wards. “For the women’s team, the India Open is of utmost importance as it’s the last opportunity for them to catch the attention of the selectors before the Commonwealth Games. Besides, it also provides the younger boxers a great platform to match their skills against the international fighters and gain experience.”
The India Open is an extension of the Boxing Federation of India’s vision to raise the stature of the sport in the country by conducting a series of international events in India to provide the nation’s top pugilists the experience and exposure to triumph at the highest level..
With every gold-medallist pocketing USD 2500, the silver and bronze medallists in each event bagging USD 1000 and USD 500, there is a lot at stake during the India Open.