The Indian boxing team has been cleared to participate in the Asian championships starting in Dubai. The participation was previously doubtful due to the travel ban imposed on India because of the second wave of coronavirus pandemic. The Asian meet was originally scheduled in Delhi, but it was shifted to Dubai due to the raging pandemic in India. India is designated co-hosts of the tournament.
Indian team’s high-performance director Santiago Nieva said, “This tournament is very important for our preparation for the Tokyo Olympics. We have been in Patiala for some time now and the boxers need some motivation,”
Nieva also added that as per the plan, it will be the last tournament for the Indian boxers before Tokyo Olympics. Countries like Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are sending their full team and will have boxers that have qualified for the Olympics. It will be a dress rehearsal competition for the athletes before the Tokyo Olympics. The Indians are expected to reach Dubai on May 22 and will be issued visas on arrival.
Ajay Singh, President of Boxing Federation of India also took time to thank the UAE government, Indian ambassador to UAE Pavan Kapoor, and Asian Boxing Confederation president Anas Alotaiba as they helped in the team’s travel to Dubai.
The Indian squad comprises 20 boxers -ten men and ten women. Among the five Tokyo-bound boxers, defending champions Amit Panghal (52kg), Vikash Krishan (69kg), and Ashish Kumar (75kg) will compete. Manish Kaushik (63kg) and Satish Kumar (+91kg) will not travel. Having tested positive for COVID, they will take some time for full recovery. Shiva Thapa has replaced Kaushik in the squad. All the four Olympic-bound women boxers, MC Mary Kom (51kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), Simranjeet Kaur (60kg), and Pooja Rani (75kg) are fit and part of the squad. This group of boxers will be looking to deliver good performances in Dubai to get ready for the mega event in Tokyo.