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Eight pugilists to represent India in Serbia

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An eight-member Indian boxing team will leave for Serbia to take part in Belgrade Winner 2011, an international competition to be held from April 20-24, the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) said today.


This will be the second international event in which Indian boxers are participating in, after the 2010 Asian Games in Guanzhou, China, to gain international exposure. Recently, the IABF had sent a team of boxers to a tournament in Armenia.


These competitions mark the beginning of the first phase of IABF's preparation and groundwork for the London Olympiad next year.


Youth Olympics bronze medallist and Asian Games gold medallist Vikas Krishnan, gold medallist at the Commonwealth Games and bronze winner in Asian Games last year Paramjeet Samota, along with the experience of Olympian and Asian games silver medallist Dinesh Kumar will lead the Indian Challenge in Serbia, the IABF said in a statement.


The likes of Shiva Thapa, silver medallist at the 2010 Youth Olympics, and Manpreet Singh, who won the silver medal at the Asian games in China, have also made it to the squad, it said.


National coach G S Sandhu believed the competition is going to be tough in Serbia, with the presence of European and Russian boxers.


"It is not going to be easy but this tournament will provide a perfect platform to train the Indian boxers for events like the Asian and World Championships later this year and the Olympics next year," said Sandhu.


"Medals are not our priority. These competitions will be a big learning curve for our boxers and I want them to return enriched with experience," the Dronacharya awardee added.


National Coach Jaydev Bisht and B I Fernandez, the foreign coach from Cuba, will also be accompanying the team to Serbia.


The IABF held selections at the 34th National Games in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand for this competition and based on the performance at the games, the eight-member squad was short-listed.


The selection committee at the trials comprised coach Sandhu, Arjuna awardees Mehtab Singh, Mohd Ali Qamar and Gopal Devang.


The squad: Squad: Shiva Thapa (56kg), Vikas Krishnan (60kg), Manoj Kumar (64kg), Mandeep Jangra (69kg), Kuldeep Singh (75kg), Dinesh Kumar (81kg), Manpreet Singh (91kg), Paramjeet Samota (91+kg).


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