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Thursday, August 05, 2021

‘Vijender and Mary Kom proved it, time for the new crop to better in Tokyo’: Boxing coach D Chandralal

Dronacharya awardee boxing coach D Chandralal expects a minimum of two and a maximum of four medals from Indian pugilists in Tokyo Olympics.

Written by SS Manoj |
Updated: July 16, 2021 3:12:57 pm
MC Mary KomPundits feel that Mary, who is also the ambassador of the game and the flag-bearer of the 119-strong Indian contingent, will go out with a bang. (Express Archive)

The Tokyo Olympic Games will be the swan song for boxing legend MC Mary Kom who is 38 and will cross 40 years of age, the cut-off age for boxers to compete in the elite category at the international level in the next Olympics.

To attract more pro-boxers, AIBA, the world governing body for boxing, raised the age limit in 2013 from 34 to 40 years of age for both men and women at the Olympic Games. Pundits feel that Mary, who is also the ambassador of the game and the flag-bearer of the 119-strong Indian contingent, will go out with a bang.

“She is a fighter. She fights till the last moment. Knowing Mary well over the years, I can confidently say that the Manipuri legend will bring one more medal from the ring,” said D Chandralal, former national boxing coach.
This time record nine boxers including four women are in the Indian Olympic team.

“History beckons our boxers in Tokyo too. Three more boxers should have been in the team but could not qualify as tournaments were cancelled due to the pandemic. I’m sure the new crop of boxers is capable of making it to the finals. They don’t have to look beyond – Vijender Singh (2008 Beijing Games) and Mary in 2012 have shown it. These boxers should seize the chance. It is now or never should be their motto and make India proud,” said the coach who recently retired from Sports Authority of India.

D Chandralal, boxing coach Chandralal D Chandralal was former national boxing coach. (Spl Arrangement)

Chandralal has trained L Sarita Devi, S Sarjubala, Nikhat Zareen, and others at the senior and youth level categories.

The veteran coach is also credited for making KC Lekha, the first-ever world champion in any sport from Kerala state when she won the gold in the 75-kg category at the 2006 championship in New Delhi. Both Mary Kom and Sarita too were crowned champs in their respective weight categories in the same tournament.

“Usually our boxers make Cuba their base before the Olympics. This time they could not but they managed to make it to Italy to prepare themselves for the Tokyo Games. Most of our boxers have enough exposure and have gained experience. They now have the intensity and the only drawback could be lack of competition,” he said.

Boxing is on the priority list of the Union government so the pugilists get whatever they wish: masseurs, physio, foreign coaches and training among other things as they are in the TOP scheme.

“Pooja Rani (in 75-kg category) has gained in experience and is expected to do better while Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) is yet to fully recover from Coronavirus but is capable of delivering on time and Simranjit Kaur (60kg) is a youth world medallist and this would be a chance to prove it at the biggest sporting arena,” he said about other women pugilists.

Among men boxers, Amit Phangal, the World No.1 in 52-kg category gets the Dronacharya Awardee’s thumbs up. “He is class apart and is one or two blows better than his rivals,” Chandralal said about Amit. On Vikas Krishan (in 69-kg category), the coach insisted that the most experienced of the lot will go all the way to the final but is injury prone. “Now that headgears are not allowed, he is susceptible. The boxing support team should handle Vikas with the utmost care,’’ he said.

Manish Kaushik (63-kg) is upcoming and consistent too while Ashish Kumar (75-kg) is young and energetic but raw and Armyman Satish Kumar (91-kg) will have to show more power and strength in his bouts as he competes in higher weight category where the World’s best boxers compete, Chandralal said about other men boxer while extolling other athletes to do their life best in the Tokyo Games.

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