Sixteen elite Indian male and female boxers, excluding the Olympics qualified M.C. Mary Kom (51kg) and Manish Kaushik (63kg), will embark on a 52-day tour of Italy and France for training and competition.
It is learnt that Mary is recovering from dengue. Manish, who is going through rehab following an operation, has been replaced with former World championships medallist Shiva Thapa.
The exposure trip has been sanctioned by the Government at an estimated cost of ₹1.31 crore, said a Sports Authority of India (SAI) statement on Wednesday.
Prominent names such as Tokyo Olympics quota place winners Amit Panghal (52kg), Ashish Kumar (75kg), Satish Kumar (+91kg), Simranjit Kaur (60kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) and Pooja Rani (75kg) will be part of the 28-member contingent, comprising 10 men and six women boxers. Vikas Krishan (69kg), another Olympic-bound boxer, is currently training in the USA.
High performance director Santiago Nieva and women’s foreign coach Raffaele Bergamasco will join the squad directly from their respective home countries Sweden and Italy.
The boxers will leave on October 14 and will train in Assisi, Italy, till December 5. Thirteen of them will participate in the Alexis Vastine international tournament to be held at Nantes, France, from October 28 to 30.
Men’s chief coach C.A. Kuttappa said the exposure will be beneficial. “We have been training in Patiala for quite some time. Our boxers need to compete to know where they stand. Top boxers from Ireland, England, Italy and France will be available on this tour. When our boxers spar and compete with them, we will get to know the areas of improvement and work accordingly,” Kuttappa told The Hindu.