Sweet scent of success for Jaismine as Indian boxers seal six quotas for Paris 2024

Jaismine Lamboria seals ticket for Paris Olympics 2024
Jaismine Lamboria seals ticket for Paris Olympics 2024 (PC: BFI/X)

A famous line used by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) to showcase its strength has been “punch mein dum hai [there is strength in the punch].” Indeed, after the high of the latest Olympic qualifiers, which concluded in Bangkok on Sunday, India can feel proud that the number of pugilists who have made the cut for the 2024  Paris Olympics has swelled to six. 

For two male boxers, Nishant Dev and Amit Panghal, to secure tickets for Paris is affirmation that Indian boxing is back on the rails, after the turmoil witnessed as recently as three months ago. Chaos and turmoil are part and parcel of sport, it’s just that in India, there is more focus on negativity. Yes, if a federation has erred, to calling it out is in order. But some order has been restored in the last two months, leading to three boxers sealing quota places in hot and humid Bangkok.

The biggest story, among the three boxers to make the grade, was Jaismine Lamboria, who stole the show against all odds. On Sunday, when she sealed her quota place in the 57kg category, winning 5-0 against Mali’s Marine Camara, it came as massive relief for lovers of Indian boxing. 

Just 16 days ago, there was a new low, when Parveen Hooda was identified as the boxer placed under provisional suspension and then banned for 22 months by the ITA (International Testing Agency) after she had failed to update her whereabouts on the ADAMS app. There was considerable flak for Parveen, as well as the BFI.

For the Latest Sports News: Click Here

Jaismine Lamboria
Jaismine Lamboria (PC: BFI/X)

The BFI, in tandem with the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), then had hectic parleys with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to field another boxer in the Bangkok qualifier, a last-ditch attempt to save the quota that Parveen had won earlier. And what one subsequently witnessed was a fantastic effort from Jaismine. Yes, she fought well and soaked up the pressure. But the bigger deal was she managed to bring her body weight down from 60kg to 57 kg, and still delivered.

Coming from Bhiwani, Haryana, a one-time cradle for Indian boxing, Jaismine was well prepared – physically, mentally and technically – to compete in Bangkok. Insiders say that she had been tipped off well in advance to stay prepared and go flat out. The results were there to see in Bangkok. She had won a bronze medal for India at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. But when she took part in the first Olympic qualifier and failed, it was in the 60kg category.

Rewind to recent dark days for Indian boxing, when Bernard Dunne, the high performance director, quit in March 2024 amid a furore. His training methods and even the way he dealt with the Indian coaches was slammed. More skeletons tumbled out of the cupboard when it was revealed that he had advocated radical changes in the Indian system, which did not work.

Luckily for Indian boxing, foreign coach Dmitry Dmitruk has done wonders. More importantly, he has worked in cohesion with Indian coaches CA Kuttappa and Bhaskar Bhatt. The results are evident, what with Amit Panghal, an emotional favourite, back in the mix alongside Nishant Dev . “India has emerged as a boxing powerhouse in recent times and I am extremely delighted to get the opportunity of coaching this talented group of pugilists,” Dmitruk had said back in March. “With the experience I have garnered in my career, I am confident that we will continue to achieve similar glory in prestigious tournaments together.”

Also Read: New York ready for the ICC T20 World Cup but work still left to be done