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Thursday,01-October-2020

National

Mary Kom’s absence an opportunity for others: Mohammed Ali Qamar

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Mary-Kom

The Indian women boxing squad will be leaving for Bangkok early next week to participate in the Asian championship without star pugilist M.C. Mary Kom. However, it does not perturb chief coach Mohammed Ali Qamar, who is confident of a good show.

“In the 2017 Asian meet, we won one gold, one silver and four bronze medals. This time we should do equally well, if not better,” Qamar told IANS on Saturday.

The only gold medal in 2017 meet was won by Mary Kom in the 48kg. “Mary’s absence is definitely a blow. We are going without her since she has decided to skip the meet to prepare for the World championship in the new 51-kg category. But there are young boxers, who are capable of shining for India,” Qamar said.

“Mind it, the Asian championship (April 16 to 27) is going to be extremely tough…..there will be top boxers involved. If we do well here, our confidence will be high for the World meet,” warned the Indian chief coach.

Qamar was a celebrated light flyweight boxer during his career – his name got etched in Indian sporting history in 2002 when he became the first Indian to win a boxing gold medal in Commonwealth Games. Presently holding the charge of Indian women’s team, Qamar is amazed by the depth of women’s boxing in India.

“I shall not be surprised if India win gold medal in 48-kg or 64-kg categories,” Qamar said without naming any particular boxer. While Nitu would be India’s representative in 48-kg, Simranjit Kaur would spearhead India’s challenge in 64-kg. In the World championship in Delhi last November, Simranjit won the bronze medal.

Apart from Simranjit, two other Indian medal winners in the World meet, Sonia Chahal (silver in 57-kg) and Lovlina Borgohain (bronze in 69-kg) are also there in the squad.

“There is a huge depth in Indian women boxing now. During our time, only a handful of girls played the sport. Since women’s boxing has been introduced in Olympics, lots of nations, including Europeans have come up. Cuba did not do much, but now that there are five weight categories in Olympics, they may also try it out,” said Qamar.

“The change in India is big. Previously, there were women boxers, who won titles at the national level many years at a stretch. Now things are completely different with the new generation. Even in national camp, you will find 50-odd women boxers. Beside this, there are many girls, who are capable of representing India..may be they lack in experience. The competition has become tough,” added Qamar.

National

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju launches SAI’s new logo

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Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Wednesday launched the Sports Authority of Indias (SAI) new logo at Delhis Major Dhyan Chand Stadium.

The event was attended by Sports Secretary Ravi Mittal, Indian Olympic Association President Narinder Batra and Director General SAI Sandip Pradhan, at the stadium, while many eminent athletes, coaches and other sports enthusiasts joined in from across the country through video conference.

“SAI has been the leader in the sports ecosystem and the primary agent of promoting sporting excellence,” said Rijiju. “It has given athletes necessary support so that they have their sporting careers take-off smoothly and they can fly towards a life of achievements and sporting glory – that is what the flying figure indicates — the freedom an athlete gets to leapfrog his/her career in SAI.

“The word SAI itself gives the identity to the organisation among various stakeholders being the acronym of Sports Authority of India. The Indian Tricolour and blue colour of chakra adds the national fervour as SAI has nurtured some of the biggest names in the sports fraternity, who represent India at the world stage.”

The SAI says that the logo signifies its “journey of metamorphosis from identifying and nurturing grassroot level sporting talent to creating sporting excellence in the country”.

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Was training with my coach, so didn’t fall far behind in lockdown: Amit Panghal

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Amit Panghal still awaits an update on his coach Anil Kumar Dhankar joining him at the boxing national camp currently underway at the National Institute of Sport (NIS) in Patiala, Punjab. Amit has been training at the Patiala facility since July and says that the amount of training he used to do during lockdown under Dhankar was more effective than what he does now at NIS.

“The latest update I have is that the file has been sent to the (Sports) ministry. For now nothing is confirmed,” Amit told IANS.

The 24-year-old boxer, who became the first Indian to win silver at the men’s World Championships in 2019, had first put forward the request for Dhankar to be with him at the national camp in December. In the past, he has credited Dhankar numerous times for shaping his career and even pleaded for a Dronacharya award for the coach.

“I can do all my basic training and fitness stuff with him very well. I would train with him before and after competitions and that always helps me. So if he is with me all the time, it will be very good for me,” said Amit, the world no.1 in the 52kg category.

“In my opinion I didn’t fall too far behind because I was training with my coach at home all along. The way I train with him, I don’t think I can match up to that even here. That is why I requested SAI (Sports Authority of India) and BFI (Boxing Federation of India) that I need him for the Olympics.”

SAI’s Standard Operating Procedure for restart of training amid the Covid-19 pandemic prohibits physical contact which means that the boxers at the camp have been unable to spar during training. Amit said that the restrictions on movement inevitably brings on boredom but the camp has been good for the boxers to work on their weaknesses and places where they fell behind during the lockdown.

“Yes it has been boring because we cannot go outside anywhere, we have not been home for the past three months. But it has been great for training. I could see that my power had reduced a lot in the beginning and that is what we are working on among other things,” he said.

Among the things discussed at the recent Special General Meeting held at the BFI was restarting sparring in Patiala and a possible European tour for the boxers next month with the first stop being Italy.

“It is time to restart sparring,” said Amit. “It has been three months that we have all been here and none of us have got any sort of sickness. If we are allowed to train with partners it will be great. Maybe we will start doing that next month after we go to Italy.”

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Not thinking about India berth, focussed on RR: Sanju Samson

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Rajasthan Royals’ Sanju Samson has taken the 2020 season of the IPL by storm. He is one of the six players to have scored two half-centuries so far this season and one of two players — apart from his captain Steve Smith — to have scored half-centuries in both matches he has played in thus far. His strike rate of 214.86 is also the highest thus far.

Samson’s performances have led to increasing calls for him to be the first choice wicket-keeper for India in shorter format but the 25-year-old Kerala batsman said that he was focussed only on playing as well he could for the Royals. “I may or may not be inducted in team India, but what I am confident upon is the fact that I am playing well for my team,” he said during a virtual press conference.

“The only thing I am sure of is that I am in good form and am winning matches for my team. I want to win matches for my team and keep my focus on IPL.”

Samson scored 75 off 32 balls in the RR’s opening match, helping them score 216/7 and in the second, he scored 85 off 42 balls and helped his side chase down a target of 224 runs. It was the highest successful run chase in the history of the IPL.

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