Monday, 8 March 2010

Australia, Canada to miss Commonwealth Boxing Championship

Pugilists have started arriving for the Commonwealth Boxing Championships but Indian Boxing Federation (IBF) that Australia and Canada had decided to give the event a miss.

"All the major boxing countries are participating in the event. But Australia are not coming because their dates are clashing with their domestic schedule and Canada never really showed interest in the event," informed Raja.

The Commonwealth Boxing Championships, which gets underway at the renovated Talkatora stadium on March 12, will see about 140 boxers from 20 countries vying for top honours.

Raja said Indian boxers were in the top shape. "The national camp has gone really well and our boxers are in top shape. I was personally present to supervise the selection process. Our main competitor will be England. They won more medals than us in the last championship."

The Indian contingent arrived in the capital on Sunday along with the complete core group for the Commonwealth Games, part of the camp at the Netaji Subhash National Institute of Sports (NSNIS) in Patiala. The remaining boxers will serve as sparring partners for the participants. England and Scotland too arrived on Sunday and the remaining teams will arrive in a couple of days.

Olympic and World championship bronze medallist Vijender Singh (75kg), Akhil Kumar (56kg) and Suranjoy Singh (52kg) will lead the Indian challenge at the championship.

The boxers had a first-hand experience of the venue on Monday as they practised at the Talkatora stadium in the evening but the venue will be completely handed over to them only on March 10, revealed Raja.

Akhil Kumar, who trained at the venue for the first time with other boxers, said it was a unique experience to visit the renovated stadium.

"For the first time we trained at the Talkatora stadium today. It is just marvellous. For the first few moments, I was trying to figure out the entry and exit points. I thought this was in some other country. I am sure that it will be completely handed over to us soon. Till then we are using the facilities at the Karnail Singh stadium for training," he said.

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