Asian Games: Looking for the perfect one-two punch

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The combat successful the boxing ringing successful Hangzhou volition beryllium not lone astir the medals. The Asian Games boxing competition, organised by the International Olympic Committee's moving group, is besides a qualifier for 2024 Paris Olympics and that raises the stakes for the boxers.

File photograph  of Nikhat Zareen(Getty) PREMIUM File photograph of Nikhat Zareen(Getty)

In the 2018 variation of the Asiad, India returned with lone 2 medals successful the lawsuit -- a golden and a bronze. This time, going by their caller performances, an betterment successful the medal tally is simply a just expectation. Claiming a fewer Olympic berths on the mode volition beryllium an icing connected the cake.

It volition beryllium nary exaggeration to accidental that the onus volition beryllium connected the women to deliver. They person the quality, extent and acquisition successful their ranks. An Olympic medallist -- Lovlina Borgohain -- and two-time reigning satellite champion Nikhat Zareen -- is astatine the forefront of women's team. Add to it, 2022 worlds medallist Parveen Hooda (57kg), Commonwealth Games medallist Jasmine Lamboria (60kg), two-time younker satellite champion Arundhati Choudhary (66kg) and young Preeti Saipawar (54) -- who was awesome astatine the satellite championships successful March -- and it shows the firepower successful the six-member team.

Only six months back, 4 women boxers won satellite titles astatine location -- an unprecedented feat that showed their preparedness for the Asian Games. With much Olympic quotas disposable successful women's contention -- 4 each successful 4 little value divisions -- 50kg, 54kg, 57kg, 60kg, -- and 2 each successful 66kg and 75kg -- it augurs good for the women's team. In men's contention only, the finalists successful 7 value divisions suffice for the Paris Olympics.

"We are looking astatine 3 to 4 Olympic quotas from the women's team. With little Olympic quotas disposable successful men's competition, it volition beryllium hard to triumph excessively galore berths but we person immoderate experienced boxers successful the lineup and expect a bully result," says caput manager CA Kuttappa.

The 2 favourites to triumph a medal and Olympic quota are Nikhat and Borgohain. Both stamped their people astatine the satellite championships. Nikhat won back-to-back golden successful flyweight part and Tokyo Olympics medallist Borgohain enactment an extremity to her mediocre tally to go satellite champion successful middleweight -- a caller Olympic value class for her.

Fast counter-attacks, tactical fight

For Borgohain, it was a culmination of a pugnacious journey. After Tokyo the Assam boxer roseate to overnight fame, thing that did not spell good with her low-profile personality. She besides had to marque a large displacement successful her value class with 69kg --in which she won bronze successful Tokyo -- being near retired of the Olympic programme. The power to a higher value people was not easy. Besides adding value successful her gangly and lanky frame, she had worked hard connected her spot and agility. If determination were immoderate doubts astir her performance, she enactment it to remainder astatine the satellite championships with a terrific triumph implicit China's Li Qian -- the Tokyo Olympic metallic medallist and 1 of the astir formidable names successful middleweight. While dispatching Qian 4-1 successful the semi-final, Borgohain brought retired her champion successful a accelerated tactical combat of counterattacks.

It is thing that caller precocious show manager Bernard Dunne has worked with the Indian boxers who are much comfy warring from a distance; stepping backmost and throwing punches. Dunne has added speed, and much punches to their attacking tempo. Roping successful his long-time subordinate Dmitry Dmitruk arsenic overseas manager has helped him sharpen the tactical nuances.

"Earlier it was astir 1 oregon 2 punches connected the counterattack. But we are present telling them to not measurement backmost afloat aft punches but beryllium acceptable to propulsion much blows erstwhile the hostile is down," says Kuttappa from China wherever the squad reached good successful beforehand for a grooming campy with different nations.

Big trial for Dunne

For Dunne, who took implicit the reins from Santiago Nieva, the Asian Games volition beryllium large test. Since helium joined the Indian squad successful October, aft a agelong and palmy stint with Ireland, helium has acceptable his sights connected the Olympic qualifiers. He knows it is archetypal measurement towards Paris and helium wants to prehend the accidental successful the archetypal qualifier. Even the satellite championships were a mentation towards Hangzhou.

A lot, therefore, volition beryllium riding connected the show of the squad due to the fact that of the mode Dunne has changed the operation of Indian boxing -- beryllium it doing distant with the trials for enactment oregon going for smaller fig of boxers successful the nationalist campy . He has met with absorption portion the boxers person moved tribunal against the caller enactment process done done valuation of assorted fittingness parameters and skillsets successful the nationalist camp. With enactment from the BFI apical brass, Dunne has been capable to combat his mode through. That successful nary mode means the absorption has ended. Any adverse effect astatine the Asian Games volition spot the daggers travel retired again.

The astonishment omission of Amit Panghal -- the lone boxer to triumph a golden medal astatine the 2018 Asian Games -- raised rather a fewer eyebrows. Panghal mislaid retired to Deepak Bhoria (51kg) -- who carried the assurance of winning a bronze medal astatine the satellite championships to upset the Tokyo Olympian. Bhoria has notched up immoderate large wins including that of Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist and 2021 satellite champion Saken Bibossinov. The Kazakh is expected to contiguous a beardown situation to him successful Hangzhou too.

Another youngster to ticker retired for volition beryllium Nishant Dev (71kg) whose courageous show astatine the worlds wherever helium won a bronze was 1 of the precocious points for India. For experienced Shiva Thapa inactive burns with occurrence to triumph an Olympic medal and the Asian Games volition springiness an accidental to beryllium a point.

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