Cuban boxing coach warns opponents of tough times

August 7th, 2008 - 2:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Aug 7 (Xinhua) Cuban head coach Pedro Roque feels his Olympic boxing team is not short on experience and has the firepower to give a tough time to opponents here. “The majority of our boxers are youth champions. Five of them won gold medals in the last Pan-American Games and that gives us a lot of confidence,” Roque said.

Cuba, a formidable force in the discipline, will miss five pugilists who won gold in Athens Olympics four years back - four of them turned professional while the other hung up his gloves.

“In Cuban boxing, there is big competition and everybody wants to be the best,” Roque said.

“We had to revamp our whole team, just one year ahead of the (Beijing) Olympic Games But our boxers are confident of their chances to shine at the Olympics.”

Roque, however, has realistic expectations from his charges. “I can’t say we will win a lot of gold medals, but I think we can try to win several silver and bronze medals.”

He also feels the Chinese squad could give their Russian, US and British opponents a hard time during the fights.

Cuba did not compete in the 2007 World Amateur Boxing Championships, and has obtained 10 out of the 11 qualifying berths, the first time for Cuba in four decades.

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