March 15: Vikas Krishan (75kg) and Laishram Devendro Singh (49kg) will spearhead an experienced 13-member Indian boxing squad that will participate in the Asia-Oceania Olympic qualifying tournament scheduled to be held in Qian’an, China, from March 23 to April 3.
The squad, comprising 10 men and three women, was selected during the selection trials held at the Netaji Subhash National Institute of Sports (NIS) in Patiala on March 7-8. The men’s team is packed with experience with the exception of Gaurav Bidhuri (52kg) and Dheeraj Rangi (60).
Bidhuri created quite a splash at last year’s World Series of Boxing (WSB) — a semi-professional tournament organised by the International Boxing Association (AIBA) — winning three consecutive fights while representing his franchise Italia Thunder.
The Delhi lad, who appeared in five bouts at the tournament, had also defeated former World Championships bronze medallist Miras Zakhupov.
Dheeraj has also tasted success in his fledgling international career, securing a silver at the World Military Games in Mungyeong, South Korea, last October.
The talented Vikas, Devendro, Sumit Sangwan (81kg), Manoj Kumar (64kg), Mandeep Jangra (69kg) and Satish Kumar (+91kg) are some of the more experienced boxers in the team.
Among the women, five-time World Champion M.C. Mary Kom (51kg) will spearhead the Indian challenge. The 33-year-old had taken a bronze at the 2012 London Olympics and is aiming for a gold at the Rio Games later this year.
Former World Champion Laishram Sarita Devi (60kg), a bronze medallist at the 2014 Asian Games, and Pooja Rani (75kg) complete the women’s line-up.
Men: Laishram Devendro Singh (49kg), Gaurav Bidhuri (52kg), Shiva Thapa (56kg), Dheeraj Rangi (60), Manoj Kumar (64kg), Mandeep Jangra (69kg), Vikas Krishan (75kg), Sumit Sangwan (81kg), Parveen Kumar (91), Satish Kumar (+91kg)
Women: M.C. Mary Kom (51kg), Laishram Sarita Devi (60kg), Pooja Rani (75kg)
Officials: Gurbaksh Singh Sandhu (head coach), Dharmendra Singh Yadav, Jaidev Bisht, Kutappa Chenanda Achaiah, Sandhya Gurung, Sagar Mal Dhayal (assistant coaches); Anirban Mallick (doctor); Gaurav Ahluwalia (physiotherapist), Ankit (masseur); Poonam Beniwal (performance analyser).