Indian pugilists shine in Euro boxing tourney

New Delhi: Competing for the first time in what has been mostly an all-European event, a four-member Indian boxing team gave a good account of itself, clinching two silver and a bronze medal at the 32nd International Tammer Invitational Tournament in Tampere, Finland. While Sumit Sangwan (81kg) and Madan Lal (52kg) managed to notch up silver medals, Asian Games gold-medallist V Santhosh (64kg) settled for a bronze in the event.

Invited twice before as well, India could not send a team previously because of logistical issues. "On the past two occasions, something or the other would keep happening and we were not being able to send a team. The good thing is that the boys have done well," said an Indian Boxing Federation official.

The small Indian contingent returned to the country on Tuesday after being the sole Asian squad in the tournament which featured 16 countries, including traditional powerhouses such as Russia, England, Wales and Scotland.

"Out biggest adversary there was not the rival teams but the weather. It was freezing, we could hardly move out and were mostly restricted to indoor training. It was a reasonably good performance," said coach Jagdeep Hooda who accompanied the team.

The 19-year-old Sangwan, competing only in his second senior international tournament, was elated at clinching a medal in a competition featuring mostly Europeans. "I couldn`t get a medal in my debut event and this silver would surely boost my prospects," said the imposing boxer from Haryana, who idolises statemate and Olympic hero Vijender Singh.

Santhosh`s hopes of Olympic qualification were dashed after Manoj Kumar booked the berth at last month`s World Championships but the optimistic 21-year-old said he would get his chances later. "I can`t brood over it, I have to focus what is with me. If I remain in good form, I will get my chances later."