London: Beijing bronze medalist Vijender Singh is not the only hope in boxing at London. If the chief coach and technical director of the squad are to be believed, this discipline could throw up some unexpected medals.
"These boys have come through many assessments and trials and I have no hesitation in saying that the country’s best boxers are here," said chief coach G S Sandhu after the weigh-in on Friday morning. "They are supremely fit and in form. There can be no excuses after this."
Sandhu’s optimism is found an echo in technical director B Fernandez. "This is the best bunch we have had ever," said the mild-mannered Cuban technical advisor. Considering that he has been with involved with Indian boxing for more than a decade, he should know what he is talking about.
Most of the squad is young, a couple of them still in their teens. Vijender Singh is the undoubted star, but others see their opportunity find a place in the sun. "This is my biggest moment and I will try and make it count," said Jai Bhagwan.
There are some incentives throw in too this time. At the press conference itself, Venky’s announced awards of Rs 50 lac for a gold medallist, Rs 25 lac for silver and Rs 10 lac for bronze. Doubtless there will be more moolah if the medals roll in.
Meanwhile, the performance of the Indian archers in the rankings competition this morning, I am told, was like the curate’s egg: good and bad in parts.
The preliminaries of advantage if the players do well since the play-offs in the actual competition pits the higher ranked against the lower. The Indian archers – men and women – finished in the middle rungs.
Interestingly, there was some controversy at the event when spectators were disallowed to enter Lord’s.
It seems that the organisers had said the rankings stage was a non-ticketing event. This was understood by some fans to imply that entry would be free while what was intended was that there was to be no spectatorship at all.
Obviously somebody has missed the mark in communications.