Boxing head coach Kuttappa says India can bag 4-5 quotas from Thailand qualifiers -
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Boxing head coach Kuttappa says India can bag 4-5 quotas from Thailand qualifiers

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A total of three boxers – Nikhat Zareen (50kg), Preeti Pawar (54kg) and Lovlina Borgohain (75kg) – are confirmed currently to compete at the Paris Olympics

Khel Today Bureau 

New Delhi : Indian boxing coach CA Kuttappa is confident ahead of the final Paris Olympic qualifiers in Bangkok starting May 25. Kuttappa believes India can secure at least four to five more quota places at the tournament, which will ensure a strong presence at the Paris Olympics.

Nine Indian boxers will be vying for these quota places, having benefitted from a preparatory camp held in the same venue since May 11. The camp, fully funded by the government’s Target Olympic Podium Scheme and the Rural Electrification Corporation Ltd under CSR partnership, provided a total of ten boxers with valuable sparring sessions against strong international competition, including teams from the United States, Great Britain, and Ireland.

“The preparations have been going good in the training camp,” Kuttappa told *SAI Media* from Bangkok on Wednesday. “Every boxer got 2-3 sparring sessions and everyone did well. We are very positive. A total of 13 countries participated in the training camp. The sparring session with boxers from the US, GBR, Russia and so on gave our boxers a lot of confidence that they can be challenged at the big stage in Paris.

“Take Sanjeet and Ankushita Boro for example, they came out dominant in the sparring sessions against great boxers from the camp,” he added.

Looking towards the qualifiers, the Dronacharya award winning coach remains optimistic. “From the Thailand qualifiers, we definitely hope to clinch 4-5 quota places and we are hoping for the best. This time we have a definite chance,” he asserted.

The team taking part in the qualifiers includes are Amit Panghal (51kg), Sachin Siwach (57kg), Abhinash Jamwal (63.5kg), Nishant Dev (71kg), Abhimanyu Loura (80kg), Sanjeet (92kg), Narender Berwal (+92kg) Ankushita Boro (60kg), Arundhati Choudhary (66kg).

His optimism extends to the medal prospects at the Olympics itself. “In Paris, I feel our smaller weight category boxers will do really well,” he said. He highlighted boxers like Amit Panghal, Sachin Siwach, and Nishant Dev who are putting in the hard yards and showing great promise.

“Our boxers have already got the 50% skillset from these sparring sessions to know what to do against the boxers of these countries,” he explained to SAI Media.

“The rest 50% more is what we will do in the coming weeks ahead of Paris Olympics to make sure we are 100% ready to challenge them.”

While the core preparation strategy remains similar to the approach taken before the Tokyo Olympics, Kuttappa emphasizes improvements in tactics, technical aspects, and strength & conditioning programs.

He is also pleased with the boxers’ mental state. “Our boxers are in a good mental position now,” he said. “The confidence from the sparring sessions has risen and psychologists are playing a key role to keep them away from pressure.”

Kuttappa also mentioned that the boxers had a good sparring session with some higher weight Russian boxers, who visited SAI NSNIS Patiala last month.

When asked about the medal count, Kuttappa said, “I realistically feel we will win 1-2 medals at the Paris Olympics. And the colour will upgrade. A gold medal for sure!”

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