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Gloves on for India

03 Mar 06 00:44
Jitender Kumar downs Canadian Donald Grant Orr at the Sydney Olympics. 

Jitender Kumar downs Canadian Donald Grant Orr at the Sydney Olympics.

Young Indian boxer Diwakar Prasad will make his return from injury at the Games, looking to build on the promise he showed in the Athens Olympics two years ago.

Prasad was named in the 11-member Indian boxing team, where he will challenge in the 57kg category.

Super Heavyweight Varghese Johnson in the 91+kg class is also considered a medal chance in his Games debut, as is 2004 Olympian Vijender Kumar in the 69kg division.

And Manchester 57kg silver medallist Som Bahadur Pun, who will step up to the 64kg class, will be looking to avenge his defeat in the much hyped India-Pakistan clash in Athens, which went the way of Pakistan’s Hyder Ali.

But one surprise omission from the squad is Manchester 48kg gold medallist Mohammed Ali Qamar, widely considered to be one of India’s best, who brought home India’s first Boxing gold.

That medal, and the two other Boxing medals marked a strong performance in a non-traditional sport for the Indian team in Manchester, and were part of a monster haul which saw them bring home 69 medals, including 30 gold.

Ali Qamar’s place in the 51kg division has been taken by Jitender Kumar, with the rest of the team filled out by 48kg powerhouse Mohammed Suranjoy Singh, 54kg Akhil Kumar, 60kg newcomer Jai Bhagwan, 75kg Parwinder Singh, 81kg fighter Ajay Kumar and 91kg Harpreet Singh, stepping up a division in Melbourne.

Meanwhile Welsh Boxing coach Tony Williams is taking his squad the long-way round to Melbourne, with a 10 day stop in Thailand to allow the team to get accustomed to climate and time differences.

The Welsh squad includes Manchester and Kuala Lumpur bronze medallist Kevin Evans.

Evans, 29, missed out on a chance for gold in Manchester when his bloody nose forced the referee to call a stop to the semi-final bout against eventual gold medallist David Dolan of England.

The Boxing competition at the Commonwealth Games will take place from 17 – 23 March at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre, with the medal bouts taking place on 25 March.

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