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Olympics: Indian boxers training in Italy to leave for Tokyo on July 17

An unprecedented nine Indian pugilists have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics, including five men and four women. All of them are giving final touches to their Games preparations in Assisi. The Games will open on July 23 with boxing competitions starting the next day.

The men who have qualified are world number one and Asian Games champion Amit Panghal (52kg), Manish Kaushik (63kg), Vikas Krishan (69kg), Ashish Kumar (75kg), and Satish Kumar (+91kg). The women’s squad comprises six-time world champion M C Mary Kom (51kg), Simranjit Kaur (60kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) and Pooja Rani (75kg).

“The travel plans have been finalised, the team will leave for Tokyo on July 17,” an official source told PTI. The first batch of athletes from India will also leave for Tokyo on the same day.

The support staff that will accompany the team includes men’s high-performance director Santiago Nieva, women’s high performance director Raffaele Bergamasco, men’s national head coach CA Kuttappa, women’s national head coach Mohammed Ali Qamar and assistant coach Chhote Lal Yadav.

Yadav is the personal coach of Mary Kom, who will be making her second and last Olympic appearance. She is 38 and had won a bronze medal in the 2012 London edition when women’s boxing made its debut in the Games. Two physiotherapists, Rohit Kashyap and Aayush Yekhande, and team doctor Dr Karanjeet Singh will also be a part of the support staff.

India’s qualification performance in boxing this time was markedly better than the 2016 Rio Games where only three made the tournament-proper, none of them women. The country did not win any boxing medals in the previous Games.

India’s first boxing medal in the Olympics came in 2008 when Vijender Singh claimed the middleweight bronze, followed by Mary Kom’s medal in 2012. Athletes travelling from India would be facing added restrictions after arriving in Tokyo and would have to undergo a hard quarantine of three days along with daily testing for COVID-19.

But those who would be heading to the Japanese capital from foreign training bases like Euorpe will get some relaxations on the severity of the quarantine.

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