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Mary Kom, Sai Praneeth, Yashaswini Deswal included in TOP scheme

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New Delhi: The celebrated MC Mary Kom, young shooter Yashaswini Singh Deswal and shuttler Sai Praneeth were among 12 top sportspersons who were included in the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) of the government on Wednesday.

The six-time world champion and Olympic bronze medallist Mary Kom was among 10 boxers who were brought into the TOPS scheme for 2020 Olympics by the Sports Authority of India’s Mission Olympic Cell which met here.

Amit Panghal (men’s 52 kg), Sonia Chahal (women’s 57 kg), Neeraj (women’s 57 kg), Nikhat Zareen (women’s 51 kg), Kavinder Singh Bisht (men’s 57 kg), Lovlina Borgohain (women’s 69 kg), Vikas Krishan (men’s 75 kg), Shiva Thapa (men’s 63 kg) and Manish Kaushik (men’s 63 kg) were the other nine boxers added to the TOPS list.

The committee also included 22-year-old shooter Deswal who won a gold medal in the women’s 10m air pistol event in the ISSF World Cup in Rio De Janeiro earlier this month. Her gold earned India an Olympic quota in this event. She had also won a silver in the mixed team event.latest sports news in english

Badminton star Sai Praneeth had won a bronze in the World Championships last month to become the first Indian men’s singles player in 36 years to win a medal. Praneeth has risen to world number 15 and is currently India’s number two player. A country is eligible to send two shuttlers per singles event in the Olympics.

The athletes were chosen on the basis of these parameters: global performance trends from most recent Olympic Games, World Championships, Asian Games and Asian Championships, performance of competing international counterparts in the last three years, high performance age of a typical Olympic medallist specific to each event, performance of Indian athletes in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and their progression chart, feedback from NSF, high performance managers, project officers and coaches.latest sports news in english

Besides the selection of athletes, financial proposals worth Rs 1.4 crore were also cleared in 11 sporting disciplines — weightlifting, wrestling, shooting, archery, table tennis, athletics, badminton, tennis, para-badminton, para-archery and para-shooting, a release from the SAI said.

The MOC also decided on the salient features of the long-term developmental plan for the 2024 and 2028 Olympics.

“Scientific testing for 21 athletes selected under the developmental group is going to take place in two batches on 15th September and 30th September. Discussions were held about the high-level committee for the Tokyo Olympics that is already in place and is headed by Union Minister of Youth and Sports, Kiren Rijiju,” the SAI release said.

“The committee will look into arrangements for the Olympics, addressing issues such as facilities for support staff, creation of India House, pre-games training venues and other logistical arrangements.”

Boxing

Amit Panghal loses to Zoirov, bags silver in final of boxing Worlds

Press Trust of India

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Amit Panghal.

Ekaterinburg (Russia): Indian boxer Amit Panghal’s phenomenal campaign in the men’s world championships ended with a silver medal after he went down to Olympic champion Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan in an intense 52kg category final here on Saturday.

Panghal lost 0-5 but the scoreline was hardly a reflection of the fight he put on against the more fancied Zoirov.

In the course of his stupendous run, the second-seeded Indian became the first male boxer from the country to finish second in the world event. The nation achieved its best-ever medal haul of two. Commonwealth Games silver-medallist Manish Kaushik (63kg) had signed off with a bronze after losing in the semifinals earlier.

Once again up against a taller and more muscular opponent, Panghal gave it his all but fell short when it came to connecting accurately. The Asian Games and Asian Championships gold-medallist nonetheless achieved a historic feat.

In a bout that was mostly about counter-attack, both Panghal and Zoirov were wary of each other in the opening three minutes.

The action picked up a bit in the second round and Panghal tried hard to capitalize on his rival’s low guard. However, in Zoirov, Panghal met his match in pace and the Uzbek had no trouble dodging Panghal’s lunging efforts.

The final round was when the two boxers decided to attack each other more intensely and even though Panghal was more aggressive, it was Zoirov who managed to land more scoring blows.

The silver here marks a new high for the boxer from Rohtak, who has been simply unstoppable since breaking into the national scene with a bronze in the 2017 Asian Championships.

Zoirov, despite being unseeded here, was always going to be a tough challenge as he also has to his credit silver medals in the Asian Games and the Asian Championships.

Before this year, India had never won more than one bronze medal at a single edition of the world championship.

The past medal-winners at the big event are Vijender Singh (2009), Vikas Krishan (2011), Shiva Thapa (2015) and Gaurav Bidhuri (2017).

This time, India was among nine countries, out of a total of 78, which had their boxers in the finals. Uzbekistan topped the finalists count with four boxers.

“This is a reward for the effort that BFI (Boxing Federation of India) has put into re-modelling the entire structure of the sport so that our boxers get the best of training and can confidently perform on the world stage,” BFI President Ajay Singh said.

“With less than a year to go for the 2020 Olympics, these performances are a major boost. BFI will ensure and encourage them in every possible way so that they can carry this form into Tokyo to bring back medals for the country,” he added.

The just-concluded tournament was to be an Olympic qualifying event but was stripped of that status by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) citing administrative and financial mismanagement in the International Boxing Association (AIBA).

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Amit Panghal 1st Indian to enter boxing Worlds final, Kaushik bags bronze

Press Trust of India

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Ekaterinburg (Russia): Asian champion Amit Panghal (52kg) on Friday became the first Indian to enter the finals of the World Men’s Boxing Championship while Manish Kaushik (63kg) signed off with a bronze medal after going down in the semifinals here.

Second seeded Panghal prevailed 3-2 against Kazakhstan’s Saken Bibossinov in the last-four stage.

But Commonwealth Games silver-winner Kaushik, competing in his debut world championship, lost 0-5 to top-seeded Cuban Andy Gomez Cruz, a gold-medallist from the previous edition besides being the reigning Pan-American Games champion.

“The bout went very well for me although I had to put in more effort than I had thought. It is a huge achievement for Indian boxing and I am thankful for all the support that I have got,” Panghal said after the triumph.

On Saturday, Panghal will take on Uzbekistan’s Shakhobidin Zoirov, the reigning Olympic champion. Zoirov defeated Frenchman Billal Bennama in his semifinal showdown.

Before this, India had never won more than one bronze medal in a single edition of the world championships but Panghal and Kaushik changed that by making the semifinals.

The past Indian medal-winners at the world meet are Vijender Singh (2009), Vikas Krishan (2011), Shiva Thapa (2015) and Gaurav Bidhuri (2017).

“I am going to push hard for a gold,” said Panghal.

His trademark pace and ability to adapt coming in handy, Panghal outmaneuvered the taller Kazakh, who came into the semis after upstaging reigning European gold-medallist Artur Hovhannisyan of Armenia in the quarterfinals.

The diminutive Armyman from Rohtak was more accurate, put more power into his punches and was sharp defensively against the Kazakh. This was after Panghal spent most of the first round getting a measure of his rival.

Bibossinov was no pushover either and tried his level best to cash in on the height advantage but the Indian kept him at a distance to ensure that most of the Kazakh’s attacks either didn’t connect or lacked in impact.

Panghal’s rise has been nothing short of spectacular in Indian boxing ever since he claimed a 49kg category bronze in the 2017 Asian Championships.

He was a quarterfinalist at the world championship on debut in the same year, went on to win consecutive gold medals at the prestigious Strandja Memorial in Bulgaria, before becoming the Asian Games champion in 2018.

This year, he already has the Asian Championships gold to his credit after moving to the 52kg category following the dropping of 49kg from the Olympic roster to accommodate more women’s divisions in the 2020 Tokyo Games.

In the other semifinal bout featuring an Indian, Kaushik struggled to keep up with the Cuban, whose counter-attacking game was simply outstanding.

Kaushik did get a few body punches through but couldn’t fend off the counter-strikes that came his way in all the three rounds.

“I gave it my all but I guess there are a few things lacking in my game, which I will try to improve on. I will work harder and deliver better results in the coming tournaments,” Kaushik said.

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Women’s boxing in India owe a lot to Mary Kom, says Simranjit Kaur

Mahima Katariya

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Simranjit Kaur.

New Delhi: Six-time world champion MC Mary Kom has hugely elevated the image of women’s boxing in India and it is the task of juniors like her to follow her lead, said 2019 Asian Boxing Championships silver medallist Simranjit Kaur.

Padma Bhushan Mary has remained the face of women’s boxing in the country for close to two decades and has collected numerous awards and recognition along the way.

“Mary Kom is a legend. She has helped and supported a lot in boxing. Because of her, boxing is getting supported support by the federations and government. We want other girls to come as well and give their best in this game,” the 24-year-old said at a recent Adidas event to launch its VRCT Jacket.

Simranjit first came into notice in 2011, when she claimed a bronze medal at the Junior Women National Boxing Championship in Patiala. She has then gradually come up the ranks to win bronze at the 2018 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships.

Having been part of India’s 10-member squad at the World Boxing Championships in New Delhi, she said she was fortunate to come in close proximity with Mary Kom. Just being near her presence has helped Simranjit learn a lot about preparation ahead of a bout.

“It will require a lot of hard to reach at the level of Mary Kom, but I’m trying my best. Everyone has some areas of improvement. Firstly I will work on that. There are some plans and diets which I need to restrict and improve as well,” the Punjab-born said.

Her tips have helped Simranjit win gold at the 23rd President’s Cup at Labuan Bajo, Indonesia, in July. Asked about her preparations for upcoming tournaments, she said, “My focus is on staying fit and agile. The next qualifying events will start from January and after that in May.

“Our camp will be in Delhi, and we will train at the Indira Gandhi Stadium. After one or two months, we may go abroad for training.”

Coming from humble backgrounds, Simranjit wasn’t initially drawn into boxing but was coaxed by her mother to follow her sisters into it. But now having tasted success she wants to make a name for herself by winning medals for the country.

“I never showed much interest in Boxing. My elder sister and two younger brothers were boxers. My mother wanted me to choose boxing as my profession. It was her dream to see both the daughters to join this sport.

“When I started off, we didn’t have any financial support. We would have regular meals and even milk was a luxury and to buy gloves and other gears wasn’t even a possibility.”

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