Thursday, Oct 23, 2014

Hope floats for Akhil Kumar

Akhil Kumar, who has fought for much of his career in the 56kg category, is moving up to the 60 kg class. (IE Photo) Akhil Kumar, who has fought for much of his career in the 56kg category, is moving up to the 60 kg class. (IE Photo)
Express News Service | Patiala | Posted: May 14, 2014 1:16 am | Updated: May 14, 2014 6:01 pm

There were plenty of familiar faces as Olympic bronze medalist Vijender Singh, veteran Akhil Kumar and World Championship bronze medalist Vikas Krishan were among the 42-member core-group probables for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and Asian Games in Incheon.

For 33-year-old Akhil, it will be a comeback of sorts as he is back in the reckoning after a gap of more than three years.

In 2012 he had suffered an injury as he tried to make weight for an Olympic qualifying event. While Kumar has boxed for most of his career in the bantamweight category, he will be moving up a weight division to the lightweight category. There he will face a four-pronged battle from the likes of Dheeraj, Vikas Malik – who had reached the quarterfinals of the 2013 World Championships – Rohit Tokas and Anil Kumar.

After participating in the London Olympics, Vikas Krishan had opted out of the 2013 World Championships choosing instead to complete his police training with Haryana Police at Karnal. In his return, he too has moved up a weight division. He had won his bronze medal in the welterweight category (69kg) at the 2011 World Championships at Baku, Azerbeijan, but had mentioned around that time how he eventually wanted to box at a higher weight.

Krishan’s decision means the middleweight category – which also features Vijender Singh – will feature some of the strongest competition for places among the core group.

Another boxer looking to make an impact will be 22-year-old Devendro Singh in the light flyweight (49kg) category. The boxer, who had reached the quarterfinals of the 2011 World Championships and 2012 Olympics, had been expected to make the India squad for the 2013 World Championships as well. However in the trials for that event, he had sustained a cut above the eye that ruled him out of the competition.

The selection trials were held at the NIS under the supervision of the Ad-Hoc committee in presence of the selectors Mehtab Singh, Deverajan, Mohammed Ali Qamar, Jitender Kumar and Rajender Prasad.

The Ad-Hoc Committee requested SAI to continue with the camp till the Asian Games in September. The men’s team is going to participate in the Chemistry Cup, as part of their exposure trip.

The Ad-Hoc Committee also requested the AIBA to allow the Indian boxers extended training and more competitions.

List: L Devendro Singh, Amandeep Singh, Pankaj Saini, Nanao Singh (all 49 kgs); Madan Lal, Santosh Harijan, Gaurav Bidhuri, Sunil (all 52 kg); Shiva Thapa, Mohammed Husamuddin, Aman Indora, V Durga Rao (all 56 kg); Dheeraj, Vikas Malik, Rohit Tokas, Anil Kumar, Akhil Kumar (all 60 kg); Manoj Kumar, Sandeep Kumar, Deepak Tanwar, Narender Singh (all 64 kg); Mandeep Jangra, Manjit, continued…

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