Tough draw for Indian boxers
Melbourne, Mar 16 (UNI) With a few easy but largely tough opening bouts, Indian boxers have been given a not so favourable draw at the Commonwealth games here.
''The draw has not been favourable to us,'' coach Venu told UNI after the draw was decided.
The boxing competitions, to be played on a knock out basis, start here tomorrow and India has entered in all the 11 categories.
The Indian squad includes three olympians and 2002 Games silver medalist Som Bahadur Pun but the coach is expecting tough times ahead.
''It is going to be tough for our boxers. It is difficult to predict how many medals we will garner at this moment but I am optimistic that we will get more than we got in 2002 games,'' he said.
India had won three medals, gold, silver and a bronze, in the Manchester Games.
Young Indian boxer Diwakar Prasad is making his return from injury at the Games and is looking to build on the promise he showed in the Athens Olympics two years ago. He will figure in the 57kg category.
Super Heavyweight Varghese Johnson in the 91+kg class is also considered a medal chance in his Games debut, as is 2004 Olympian Vijender Kumar in the 69kg division.
And Manchester 57kg silver medallist Som Bahadur Pun, who will step up to the 64kg class, will be looking to avenge his defeat in the much hyped India-Pakistan clash in Athens, which was won by Pakistan's Hyder Ali.
But the most notable omission from the squad is Manchester gold medallist Mohammed Ali Qamar. His place has been taken by Jitender Kumar, with the rest of the team filled out by 48kg powerhouse Mohammed Suranjoy Singh, 54kg Akhil Kumar, 60kg newcomer Jai Bhagwan, 75kg Parwinder Singh, 81kg fighter Ajay Kumar and 91kg Harpreet Singh, stepping up a division in Melbourne.
Team manager CK Jairath told UNI that despite a ''Not so favourable'' draw he was confident that Indian boxers will do well.
He and coach Venu agreed that such draws are part of the international competitions.
''Suranjay Singh has been piitted against England in 48kg and it is definately a hard bout. Promnising Jitender Kumar faces experienced Nouman Karim of Pakistan in 51kg but the Haryana boxer has a slight edge because of his age and agility.'' ''I think all said and done it will depend how boxers fare in the ring and let me admit that we have very little information about other rivals as they are also figuring in these bouts for the first time,'' Venu said.
''Let us hope for the best,'' he added.
Following is the first round draw for the Indians: 48kg : Suranjoy Singh vs Darren Jihn Langley (England), 51kG : Jitender Kumar vs Nouman Karim (Pakistan) 54kg : Akhil Kumar vs Atanas Mugerwa (Uganda) 57kg : Diwakar Prasad vs Metuisela Corikula (Fiji) 60kg : Jai Bhagwan vs Robert LynTurley (Wales) 64kg : Som Bahadur Pun vs Todd Alan Kim (Australia) 69kg : Vijender vs Poleti Seipua (Samoa) 75kg : Parvinder Singh vs Charles Emmanue Njock (Cameroon) 81kg : Ajay Kumar vs Mokai Paraha (Tonga) 91kg : Harpreet Singh vs Sean Santana (South Africa) 91kg: Verghese Johnson vs Fredrick Orieyo Oracho (Kenya) UNI HSB PM RK1100