Sports ministry taking efforts to strengthen bench for Olympics; Indian boxers bring back 14 medals

New Delhi, Jul 5 (IANS): With an eye on developing the bench strength for the 2028 and 2032 Olympics, the Sports Ministry is leaving no stone unturned.

International competition exposure of all SAI National Centres of Excellence (NCOE) junior athletes is paramount in achieving this aim. The transition of athletes from the youth level to the elite level remains the key.

The ministry has sanctioned an amount of Rs 7.50 crore per annum for all the NCOEs to allow international exposure to their athletes. Reaping the benefits of this, the junior boxers brought home a total of 14 medals -- 2 gold, 2 silver and 10 bronze -- from the Elorda Cup tournament in Nur Sultan, Republic of Kazakhstan.

A total of 13 male and 12 women boxers were a part of the competition that took place from June 28 to July 5. They faced the very best of junior talents from Kazakhstan, Japan, Uzbekistan, China and India. Before the main tournament, the junior boxers warmed up through a 10-day training camp inKazakhstan from June 18 to 27.

Speaking to the Sports Authority of India following her arrival on Tuesday morning, Gitika Narwal, gold medallist in the girls' 48kg category, said, "This was my first elite international tournament and getting the gold motivates me to do my best going forward in the elite level."

Gitika won her bouts against Kazakhstan (5-0), Uzbekistan (4-1) and India (4-1) at the QF, SF and Final stages respectively to record an impressive run for herself. "I was thinking how I would do it since I didn't have the experience but now I am relieved. I also thank NCOE Bhopal who played a big role in my development. The coaches put full focus on my training."

Alfiya Pathan of Nagpur also won gold for India in the Kazakhstan tournament. Both Gitika and Alfiya had also won the gold medals at the World Youth Championships 2021.

Speaking about her current achievement, Alfiya said, "Apart from the Youth Worlds, I also won the gold medal in Adriatic Pearl Montenegro last year. Those achievements set the base for my gold medal this time again. This was also my first elite tournament.

"All thanks to SAI to give me a chance to participate in this international exposure and helping me in my journey. My next target is to do the best in the senior nationals in Bhopal and of course, target the Olympics," Alfiya, a trainee of NCOE Rohtak added.

List of medallists (Elorda Cup 2022 Kazakhstan):

Gold - Gitika Narwal (48kg), Alfiya Pathan (81+kg)

Silver - Kalaivani (48kg), Jamuna Boro (54kg)

Bronze - Kuldeep Kumar (48kg), Ananta Chopade (54kg), Sachin (57kg), Jugnoo Ahlawat (92kg), Sakshi Chaudhary (54kg), Jyoti (52kg), Sonia Lather (57kg), Neema (63kg), Lalita (70kg), Babita Bisht (81kg).



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Title: Sports ministry taking efforts to strengthen bench for Olympics; Indian boxers bring back 14 medals

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