‘Punch it straight’ is the new boxing mantra

March 27th, 2008 - 6:38 pm ICT by admin  

By Avishek Roy
New Delhi, March 27 (IANS) The five Indian boxers who have made their way into the Beijing Olympic Games, have done it with a new wonder technique - simply landing a power-packed punch straight to the opponents’ face. The strategy was so successful that India’s boxing squad to Beijing is the biggest in their Olympic history. The shift in technique began after the Athens Olympics four years ago. The uppercut and hook are no longer the favoured tactics, now it is all straight punching with telling effect.

The result is there for all to see. In the last couple of years, the Indian boxers have been highly successful in winning medals at international meets; they are now a force to reckon with at the continental level.

The young, energetic boxers returned with a handful of medals from the Melbourne Commonwealth Games. Ten boxers qualified for the Asian Games in Doha, though they won only two bronze medals.

Vijender, Dinesh Kumar and Jitender Kumar qualified for the Beijing Games at the recently concluded Asian qualifying tournament in Kazakhstan. They joined Antharish Lakra and Akhil Kumar who had qualified earlier.

“We have completely changed our strategy after the Athens Olympics. The new methods have done wonders,” says Muralidharan Raja, secretary-general of International Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) and a former international referee.

The strategy of punching straight is simple. It is the shortest distance for boxers to reach his opponents and packs the maximum power.

National coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu says the boys have taken to the new technique well and enthusiastically.

“We have done away with the long-range and medium range punches and brought more clarity in the delivery of punches. But, ultimately it all depends on how the boys adapt themselves to the new skills. So far, they have been able to do well,” says Sandhu, who returned Wednesday along with his three wards who made the Beijing cut.

Raja says that after the Athens Games the IABF told all coaches to follow the new skills adopted by the boxers world over.

“We found that boxers from Cuba, Russia, Germany were not wasting their punches, no upper-cuts or hooks, just straight punches. We could see the difference between the rest of the world and our team,” Raja says.

Now India is in sync with the world as far as technique goes.

IABF is hopeful that at least one of the boxers will land a medal in Beijing.

“They are more confident than ever. They have tasted success in the international arena and we are hoping that our boxers carry their form into the Olympics and on to the podium,” says Raja.

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