Tokyo 2020: Dubai confidence boost for India’s Olympic-bound boxing team

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games-bound India boxing team were given a resounding vote of confidence by coaches, technical staff and senior members of the Dubai medical community during a highly motivating event on Saturday.

An enthusiastic ‘Three Cheers India, Jai Hind’ could be heard across the Prime Hospital conference hall in a heartfelt message that will doubtless go a long way to encouraging, uplifting and inspiring the young athletes ahead of the enormous challenges that they will face at the July 23-August 8 extravaganza in Japan.

As the official medical partner of the UAE Boxing Federation for the ongoing Asian Boxing Championships in Dubai, the multi-speciality hospital took the opportunity to honour the Indian boxers competing in the Asian Boxing Championships. Among them are 10 women and nine men.

The squad are using the event to as a major part of their Olympic preparations with COVID-19 having disrupted their training on several occasions.

However, the India team’s high performance director Santiago Nieva thinks very highly of the nine-strong Olympic team, which he believes is the best and most talented squad to every compete at the world’s biggest sporting event.

“We know our strengths as have won many medals in world championships and our expectations are high,” Nieva told Gulf News. “We also known that that the Olympics is a very tough competition but we will strive to win medals in both the men’s and women’s event. That’s our goal.

“There are no specific targets but all my boxers have the potential to win a medal. Obviously if you talk about the main prospects I think Amit, who won the gold at the Boxing World Cup last year, will do and we expect our prize fighter Mary Com to also excel. But there are other fighters who are equally strong and we are very hopeful,” added Nieva, a former Argentinian boxer who is based in Sweden.

Kuttappa C, Chief Boxing Coach and Dronacharya awardee has been working with the national boxing team for the past 15 years, shares Nieva’s sentiments.

“We are very excited about this team, which is the biggest India has event sent to the Games,” he said. “I’ve been working closely with all the boxers and know their potential. We will need some luck with the draw, but I am confident that they will not let India down and hopefully leave Tokyo with the biggest medal catch.”

Dr Jamil Ahmed, Managing Director Prime Healthcare Group, a pioneer in promoting the benefits of health through sports, said: “Through our association with the Asian Boxing Champions and the government of Dubai we want to convey the message that it is important for everyone to individually take care of their health by being fit and participating in sports.

“It was also an opportunity to support the Indian boxing team and wish them luck at a prestigious event like the Olympic Games. The message that we also wish to send out to the international audience is that by holding events like the Asian Boxing Championships it clearly demonstrates that Dubai is a safe place and for that we are thankful to the Rulers and Government, especially as we are a private healthcare facility.”

The nine-member Indian squad headed to the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo:

Amit Panghal (52kg)

Shiva Thapa (54kg)

Vikas Krishnan Yadav (69kg)

Sanjeet Kumar (91kg)

Varinder Singh (75kg)

Mary Kom (51kg)

Pooja Rani (75kg)

Lovlina Borgohain (69kg)

Simranjit Kaur (60kg)

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