For decades, India has been a country dominated by one sport. Perhaps, the underlying reason behind the perennial dominance was the amount of success achieved by the cricketers, but the past decade has seen a paradigm shift in the sporting world in the country. What started as a remarkable resurgence of other sports at the 2008 Olympics soon gained momentum, and one of the sports to have gained popularity since the Olympics is boxing.
With the Boxing World Championship set to take place in Doha in the latter half of 2015, we have decided to focus on the impending consequences the Boxing World Championships would bear on India’s fortunes at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. The road to Rio truly begins later this year, as the Indian boxers look to create history once again, with the women’s Junior and Youth World Boxing Championships set to take place in mid May, followed by the Junior World Boxing Championships for men in September. But for now, we set our sights on the men’s elite World Boxing Championships set to kick off in October this year.
Importance of WBC – A trip back in time
World Boxing Championships have always played a pivotal role in the careers of acclaimed boxers, with the likes of Mary Kom being a five–time women’s amateur World Boxing champion, and Vijender Singh winning the bronze medal in the 2009 World Boxing Championships.
With the competition set to be tougher than ever at the 2016 Olympics, the WBC would be the perfect platform for boxers such as Vijender Singh, who is coming off an injury and will more than likely take part in the event. With a lot of old faces making an impact at the recently concluded men’s elite National Boxing Championships, this year’s WBC will be crucial for India’s fortunes at the Olympics next year as we set our sights on Rio.
Our Best Bet at the WBC
With nearly 6 months to go for the World Championships, the recently concluded national games gave us a glimpse of the quality of boxers India has produced over the past couple of years. This year’s World Boxing Championship will be instrumental in scouting the boxers for next year’s Olympics, and India, as it has been seen in the recent past, can turn quite a few heads and finish in the top 3 in the medals’ tally at the world championships.
While the middleweight category looks formidable, India can spring surprises in the light – flyweight and the light – welterweight categories. While Vijender Singh continues to be the most likely candidate to fetch a medal for India, the likes of Devendro Singh and Manoj Kumar are the other two favorites with medal chances in their respective weight class.
With Vikas Krishan Yadav now stepping back into the ring, the former bronze medal winner at the World Championships will also be one of the favorites to get picked, and finish in the top 3 of his weight class at this year’s championships. But with everybody’s focus on next year’s Olympics, Krishan would want to put his demons to rest, with his controversial ousting at the 2012 London Olympics, and this year’s event would give him the ideal practice leading up to the Olympics next year.
A lot will depend upon the Indian contingent that will be sent to Doha for the event, as the country’s hopes of faring well at the 2016 Olympics will rest heavily on the outcome of the championships.