India bank on youth and experience

Sarita Devi. PTI

A mix of experience and youth will represent India in the Asian Boxing Championships, scheduled in Bangkok from April 16-27.

In the absence of six-time World Champion MC Mary Kom, the women’s team will be led by veteran Sarita Devi who held great expectations from the youngsters.

“The youngsters are very talented and hardworking. All of them have done very well at the youth level, and are now playing in their first senior tournament. I feel they will do well, they are training with a lot of confidence, they have an amazing focus and enthusiasm,” Sarita said.

“Even when they are training with the seniors here, they are not fearful. Most important thing in boxing is the heart should be strong. These kids have strong hearts, and courage to fight.

Nitu, who has graduated from the youth boxing, is excited about her maiden senior tournament. “It is very difficult to get into a major senior tournament, so it matters a lot to me. I will give my 100 percent, and hope to get gold medal,” said the boxer, whose father took three years sabbatical from work to raise her as a national-level boxer.

“Our coaches are preparing us very well in the camp. Be it technical or tactical aspect, all are being covered very well. Our seniors -- Mary Kom and Sarita Devi -- motivate us a lot. As we have made the transition from the youth to the senior, they tell us our weakness in our games, what we need to improve and how to use our qualities in a right manner.

“Sarita plays with a very cool mind, and Mary has a lot of experience. It is only because of her the women’s boxing has come up so well in the country. She is also southpaw like me, so seeing her bouts is benefiting me a lot. “

India coach Mohammed Ali Qamar sounded confident despite tough competition expected in the Championships.

“We are well prepared. We concentrated on strength. Our analysis showed that we had to develop the strength aspect of the team. We expect good results,” he said. “Asia has best boxers. It is tough, especially to box Taipie, Korea, China in upper weights. We have to tackle them.”

In the first time in the history of the continental event, the women's competition will be held alongside the men’s.

DH News Service

Squad: 48kg: Nitu (Haryana), 51kg: Nikhat Zareen, 54kg: Manisha (Haryana), 57kg: Sonia Chahal, 60kg: Sarita Devi, 64kg: Simranjit Kaur, 69kg: Lovlina Borgohain (Assam), 75kg: Nupur (Haryana), 81kg: Pooja Rani (Haryana), 81+kg: Seema Poonia

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India bank on youth and experience

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