Pune, Oct 8 (UNI) The eight-member Indian boxing contingent is silently preparing to emulate the feats of their seniors at the Olympics for the Commonwealth Youth Games (CYG) 2008, which begin at the Balewadi Sports Complex here from October 12.
India has made rapid strides in boxing. Vijender Singh has emerged the new hero after getting a bronze in Beijing and he will project to the world his new boldness in the ring during the CYG.
An eight-member squad is gearing up for just this at the Army Sports Institute (ASI) in Ghorpadi near Pune, for the competition to be held at the Balewadi complex.
Olympic hero Vijender Singh's cousin, Balvinder Beniwal, is one of the under-19 boxers in the team coached by G. Manoharan.
''Beijing Olympics has changed the face of the sport in India. In my village Bhiwani for example, youngsters want to become boxers.
Earlier about 10 kids used to train, now 40 line up,'' said the Haryana lad, India's entry in the 69kg category.
The youngsters moved into ASI from September 1 for focused training after two camps in Aurangabad.
''The facilities here are the best in India and the boys are eager for action,'' said Manoharan, tuning up the eight for the CYG featuring 104 competitors from 32 nations. He names Nanao Singh Thokchom (48kg), V. Santosh Kumar (64kg) and Sunil (51kg) as special talents based on progress made over the years.
''We have chosen the best eight after trials last week. Nanao and Sunil won medals at the Commonwealth boxing championships in 2007 where we sent a junior squad for the seniors' event. A few others made their mark in the junior Olympic Games in Cuba,'' Manoharan added.
Coach Manoharan said for the youngsters the turning point was the performance in the 2007 Commonwealth meet, where the juniors won nine medals in a senior competition.
The Indian squad: Nanao Singh Thokchom (SSCB) 48kg, Sunil (Har) 51kg, Durga Rao (SSCB) 54kg, Vikas (Har) 57kg, Neeraj Goyat (Pun) 60kg, V. Santosh Kumar (SSCB) 64kg, Balvinder Beniwal (Har) 69kg, Satender (SSCB) 75kg.
Chief coach: G Manoharan (Kar).
Coaches: Mohinder Singh Dhaka (SAI) and Braja Bhusan Mohanty (SSCB).
Manager: Lt Col Jaya Kumar (SSCB).
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