Boxers get permanent invite from Hungary

They once again missed competing under the national flag due to a provisional suspension but such was the finesse in the Indian boxers’ performance at the 58th Bocskai International tournament in Hungary that the organisers presented them with a permanent invite for the event.

The Indians, forced to compete under the International Boxing Association (AIBA) flag, finished fourth among 22 countries with a gold, a silver and two bronze medals.

Olympian L Devendro Singh (49kg) was the one to bag top honours, while Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Manoj Kumar (64kg) clinched the silver. Sumit Sangwan (81kg) and Sunil Kumar (57kg) settled for bronze medals.

“We finished fourth among 22 teams and it is a performance I am thoroughly proud of,” National coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu said after the team’s return from Debrecen, Hungary here on Monday.

“The organisers were so impressed with the way the Indian boxers performed that they have extended a permanent invitation to us, they want our boys to be there every year. It is truly a remarkable achievement for us,” said the beaming coach.

It is not a particularly good time for Indian boxing given that the federation is currently suspended and the boxers have to compete under the AIBA flag. But they have braved the circumstances to leave a mark at most of the international tournaments they have competed in.

“All credit to the boys for this. The training at the national camp has continued without interruption thanks to the Sports Authority of India and the boys have remained focussed, they have remained determined,” said Sandhu.

The boxers have also had to contend with changes in the international rules, which included competing without the protective head-guard besides adjusting to a 10-point scoring system similar to professional boxing.

“They are adjusting well to rule changes. The more we compete, the better we will get,” said Sandhu.

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