New Delhi, Mar 11(ANI): Indian pugilists are confident of a title-winning show at the fifth Commonwealth Boxing Championship, to be organized at the Talkatora Stadium in national capital New Delhi from Friday.
The line-up of Indian participants includes Olympic hero Vijender Singh, Commonwealth Games gold medallist Akhil Kumar and Asian champion Suranjoy Singh, placing India as firm favorites for winning the championship for the second time.
Over 100 boxers from 14 countries are participating in this six-day tournament. However, the tournament has suffered a setback after Australia, Canada, Ghana and Pakistan pulled out.
"A few countries like Australia had told us right in the beginning that they have got their domestic commitments. And same was the case with Ireland and few other countries. As far as Pakistan, they probably had their own reasons," said Colonel P. K. Muralidharan Raja, Secretary General of the Indian Boxing Federation.
"They were also very keen to come; we had sent our team earlier there, and they were also keen to come. There is nothing much. After all, this is an invitational tournament," he added.
Defending champions England, Scotland, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana and the Bahamas are some of the countries that have sent their boxers for this invitational tournament.
With tough competition lined up, Vijender Singh is confident that the Indian boxers will produce medal-winning results.
"We all have prepared and trained well for this tournament. The team is fit. There are no injuries and I am hoping everyone does well and gets lots of medals for India," Singh said.
The tournament is also a test event for the Commonwealth Games scheduled in October this year in New Delhi. Singh said he wants to make most of this opportunity.
"This tournament is good for our preparation for the Commonwealth Games. We will get good exposure. We can know and study our opponents well. Then we will have enough time till the Games. It will be a good experience," Singh added.
India won the Commonwealth team championship in 2002 in Glasgow with four gold and three silver medals, but settled for the runners-up trophy in 2005 with one gold, two silver and three ronze medals. (ANI)