Boxers to compete in head guards at men's National Championship
(Sourced from PTI)
Boxers will compete in head guards during the men's National Championship scheduled to start on September 15 and gold-medalists from the event will qualify for World Championships to be held from October 26 in Serbia. The Nationals will be staged at Bellary's Inspire Institute of Sports in Karnataka and the top two in each category will make the automatic cut for the national camp.
"The gold-medalists will qualify for the World Championships. The Nationals will be followed by an Open Championship and the top two from there will also be added to the camp," Boxing Federation of India Secretary General Hemanta Kalita told PTI.
Men's amateur boxing did away with head guards in 2013 when the International Boxing Association (AIBA) medical commission, after a research study, concluded that removing the gear "may reduce the already small risk of acute brain injury in amateur boxing." Notably, the country's Olympic-returned boxers will also have to compete and claim gold at the Nationals to be eligible for the global showpiece.
Amit Panghal (52kg), Manish Kaushik (63kg), Vikas Krishan (69kg), Ashish Chaudhary (75kg), and Satish Kumar (+91kg) had competed at the Tokyo Olympics. Of these, Krishan is currently out of action, nursing a shoulder injury that needed to be operated on.
"The dates and venue for the Open Championship will be announced later," Kalita said. "Immediately after the Nationals, we will have trial bouts on September 22 and September 23 between this year's bronze winners and last edition's top three to decide additional boxers for the national camp," Kalita added. Notably, the Nationals could not be held last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Nationals will be competed in the new weight categories introduced by the AIBA in July. The revised weight divisions for men are 48kg, 51kg, 54kg, 57kg, 60kg, 63.5kg, 67kg, 71kg, 75kg, 80kg, 86kg, 92kg, and +92kg. Notably, the AIBA events and Olympic competitions don't feature head guards but national associations are free to conduct their tournaments with or without the protective gear.
The AIBA research had concluded that head guards can increase the risk of blows to the head because the padding around the eyes limits the boxer's vision. On the flip-side, the absence of head guards has contributed to an increased rate of cuts.
To this, the AIBA study had stated that "as boxers become more experienced and acclimated" to boxing without head guards and coaches change their style in view of the new rule, the rate of cuts will be reduced to previous historic levels. The Nationals will require boxers, and support staff to present a negative RT-PCR test report obtained 72 hours before the competition.