New Delhi: Indian boxing's revival march will touch another milestone when the country hosts the inaugural India Open for men and women in New Delhi from Sunday in a field which would feature boxers from traditional powerhouses such as Cuba and Kazakhstan among others.
The tournament is the biggest prize money event to be held in the country with a total purse of USD 100,000.
In all, 21 countries, apart from the hosts, will be in action, adding up to 143 male boxers — 42 of whom will be Indian.
The women's draw is relatively smaller with just 80 in fray, 32 of whom will be Indian led by the inimitable MC Mary Kom (48kg).
This is the first international tournament for men being hosted in India after the 2010 Commonwealth Championships. It is also the first time that a men's and women's international competition is being held simultaneously in the country.
"We are really looking forward to it.
This is another step towards taking Indian boxing to its rightful place, which is right there at the top with other powerful countries. Having a tournament on home turf is always a confidence booster," Indian boxing's High Performance Director Santiago Nieva told PTI.
"The fact that the performance here will contribute to Commonwealth Games selection is also a major motivating factor for the boxers," he said.
Among the men, barring a couple of notable absentees — world championships bronze medal-winning duo of Gaurav Bidhuri (56kg) and Vikas Krishan (75kg) — Indians will be out in full force in four teams of India A, B, C and D.
Both Vikas and Gaurav are out, nursing injuries but with the likes of world and Asian medallist Shiva Thapa (60kg), former Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Manoj Kumar (69kg), Asian silver-medallist Sumit Sangwan (91kg) and Commonwealth Games silver-medallist Mandeep Jangra (69kg) among others.
Among the new faces, the ones to watch out will be world youth champion Sachin Siwach (49kg) and world championships bronze-medallist Naman Tanwar (91kg).
The women's line-up has five teams with Team E headlined by the celebrated Mary Kom (48kg) and also including Commonwealth Games bronze-medallist Pinki Jangra (51kg).
The other Indian women's teams feature the likes of world championships silver-medallist Sonia Lather (57kg, Team A), former world and Asian champion L Sarita Devi (60kg, Team A), recently-crowned world youth champion Shashi Chopra (57kg, Team B), former junior world champion Nikhat Zareen (51kg, Team D) and former world silver-medallist Sarjubala Devi (51kg, Team A).
Among the international teams, Kenya (22), Thailand (19), Indonesia (19), Afghanistan (17), Mongolia (17), Nepal (17) and Zambia (18) have the biggest contingents apart from India.
Every gold-medallist will pocket USD 2500, while the silver and bronze medallists in each event will be bagging USD 1000 and USD 500 respectively.
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Updated Date: Jan 27, 2018 16:14:55 IST