For now, London 2012 bronze-medallist and six-time world champion MC Mary Kom will stay in India rather than make the long trip to Europe for an Indian boxing training camp.
However, a 16-strong contingent, including six boxers – Amit Panghal, Ashish Kumar, Satish Kumar, Simranjit Kaur, Lovlina Borgohain and Pooja Rani from the nine who have already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. - will train in Assisi, Italy from October 15 till December 5.
The move was announced by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) on Wednesday.
A few of them will also take part in the ‘Alexis Vastine International Boxing’ tournament in Nantes, France from October 28-30.
However, Kom will not make the trip to Europe citing travel risks.
“I was not keeping well for the past two weeks because of dengue. I am much better now but won’t be travelling,” Mary Kom told PTI. “I will be based in Delhi and train here.”
The two other boxers to have made the Tokyo cut - Vikas Krishan and Manish Kaushik - will also not go to Italy. Krishan is training in the USA while Manish Kaushik is recovering from an unspecified injury.
Lovlina Borgohain, meanwhile, was looking forward to getting a feel of the competition again.
“With 10 months to go before the Olympics, getting to compete against European opponents will be really helpful,” reckoned Lovlina Borgohain.
While the Indian boxers were already back in training at a camp in Patiala, they have not taken part in competitions since March and the Europe trip will make up for it, felt 75kg boxer Ashish Kumar.
“When we meet new competitors, we will get an idea of our level. It will help us get a better idea of where we stand and what aspects we need to improve on,” said Ashish Kumar.
Chief coach of the men’s boxing team, CA Kutappa, echoed similar views.
“The boxers are very happy, they wanted to do something different, they need competition and training. This overseas exposure will give a better idea of competition from Europe,” he said.
India is yet to earn Olympic berths in the men’s 57kg, men’s 81kg, men’s 91kg and women’s 57kg. Boxers competing in those weight categories will also be a part of the travelling contingent, which will help them prepare for the World Olympic qualifiers in 2021.