New Delhi: Himachal Boxer Ashish Kumar will be part of India’s elite men and women boxers to train in Italy and France for a period of 52 days from October to December for their overseas training and participation in international competition.

Ashish Kumar hails from Mandi district of the state. Ashish has qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games in a Middleweight (75 kg) category by defeating Maikhel Muskita of Indonesia. He is an only boxer from the state to represent country in Tokyo Olympic Games.

A 28-member contingent will travel which include 10 male boxers and 6 women boxers along with the support staff. Along with Ashish Kumar, Amit Panghal, Satish Kumar, Simranjit Kaur, Lovlina Borgohain and Pooja Rani, all of whom have earned quotas for the Tokyo Olympics.

Ashish Kumar said that this is good preparation as they would be coming up against opponents who they might face at the Olympics. He said

“It will be very helpful for us to play against competitors from abroad. We were already at camp in Patiala and regained our fitness, going abroad will really help. When we meet new competitors, we will get an idea of our level. It will help us get a better idea of where we stand and what aspects we need to improve on.”

The men’s and women’s boxing team will be training at Assisi, Italy for a period of 52 days from October 15 to December 5.

13 boxers from the contingent will also participate in the “Alexis Vastine” International Boxing Tournament to be held in Nantes, France from October 28 to October 30.

Nine boxers, the highest ever for a single Olympics from India have earned quotas for the Tokyo games. The World Olympic qualifying event scheduled for next year is the last event for Indian boxers to obtain quotas for the Olympics.

CA Kutappa, Chief Coach, Indian Men’s Boxing Team is very happy that the boxers will travel abroad and calls this exposure trip as an opportunity to know where they stand against international competition after all the disruptions that have taken place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, “At this time last year, we were at peak competition fitness, participating in the World Championships and were training intensely. Thank the government for sanctioning this. The boxers are very happy, they wanted to do something different, they need competition and training. They want to see where they stand compared to the European boxers. This overseas exposure will give a better idea of competition from Europe.”

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Rahul Bhandari is Editor of TheNewsHimachal and has been part of the digital world for last 15 years.