From the publishers of THE HINDU

VOL.34 :: NO.33 :: Aug. 18, 2011

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BOXING / INTERVIEW/VIJENDER SINGH

His focus is on the 2012 Games

“The preparations are good. We are all fit and not carrying any injuries. Hopefully, we will maintain it till the World Championships,” says Vijender Singh, who is one of the Indian boxers aiming to qualify for the London Olympics.

SANDEEP SAXENA

Vijender Singh… “the more (number of) boxers qualify, the more chances the country will have to win medals in the Olympics.”

Vijender Singh wants to put up a good show at the AIBA World Boxing Championships in order to seal his place in the Indian team for the 2012 London Olympics.

“Ten boxers in each weight category will qualify (for London) during the World Championships. It is a very big event and over 800 boxers will participate. Let's see how many (Indian) boxers can qualify,” the 25-year-old boxer from Bhiwani said.

“The preparations are good. We are all fit and not carrying any injuries. Hopefully, we will maintain it till the World Championships. The more (number of) boxers qualify, the more chances the country will have to win medals in the Olympics,” he said.

“The sooner we qualify, the more time we will have to prepare,” he added.

The World Boxing Championships will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, from September 22 to October 10, 2011. Prior to this, the Olympic and World Championship bronze-medallist Vijender will participate in the World Series Games in the U.S. and then head for France for training-cum-tournament.

Admitting that the Indian boxers will face pressure of expectations, Vijender said: “We need to take it in a positive way, but we must not be overconfident.”

Talking of the AIBA decision to get rid of head guards in all elite men's competitions, Vijender said: “Without head guards it would be professional boxing. Amateur boxing happens with head guards.

“Amateur boxing is not as popular as professional boxing. So they are trying to bring in some changes. But there are more chances of boxers getting injured without head gear. We train without head gear many times. So, hopefully, there won't be too many problems.”

The AIBA, at its executive committee meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan, recently had decided to change the technical and competition rules for all its programmes, including getting rid of head guards in all elite competitions.

Vijender said he was still coming to terms with the new scoring system. “I was very happy with the old points system. In the new system, you get very high scores — almost 75-80 at times — which did not happen earlier,” he said.

“The boxers are trying to get used to it during training,” he added.

Stating that he has not yet been contacted by the Mumbai-based Transstadia, which has signed a 10-year deal with World Series Boxing to own an Indian team, Vijender said: “Let the Olympics get over first, only then we will discuss that.”

Asked about his leaner and fitter look, Vijender said: “I have reduced my weight. I fight in the under-75 category. The weight does increase sometimes to 77-78. We have to maintain it between 59-75, otherwise you cannot take part in the championships.”



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