Two boxing gloves are seen next to a guitar after a training session in preparation to Rio 2016 Olympic Games, at a camp 3300 meters above sea level in San Jose Teacalco, MexicoReuters

The two big names from India who have bagged medals in the Olympics in recent years -- Vijender Singh (bronze in 2008 Beijing Olympics) and Mary Kom (Bronze in 2012 London Olympics) -- will not be seen in the Rio Olympics 2016. That does come as a not-so-good news, but the race for another medal by the Indian Olympians in boxing is not yet over.

The games in Rio de Janeiro this year will see three boxers from the country -- Shiva Thapa, Vikas Krishan and Manoj Kumar -- embark on the gold quest. Although the boxing contingent from India this time around is pretty low compared to the past events, we can't ignore the quality of the three pugilists who are about to shine big.

Shiva, Manoj and Vikas are set to feature in their second respective Olympic games and the similarity among them is that neither of the trio has had an impressive outing in the 2012 London Olympics. The motivation, therefore, is expected to be high for them this time around as they are out to prove a point.

Pressure definitely is a factor, but Vijender and Mary believe that the added responsibility will bring the best out of the trio. "I am expecting all three of them to win medals. All of them are experienced, this is their second Olympics and I feel all of them can return with medals despite the pressure," said Vijender, who was recently crowned the WBO Asia Pacific champion.

Vijender himself could have been a part this time around given that the pro boxers are given a green signal to participate in the Olympics for the first time. However, with the Bhiwani pugilist's title match and training clashing at the same time, Vijender's trainer Lee Beard categorically asked the Indian boxer not to participate in the Olympic pro boxing qualifiers.

Mary, who saw her Olympics 2016 dreams come crashing down after getting knocked out in the second round of the World Championships in Astana in May, meanwhile, mentioned that the trio can achieve the unexpected in Rio de Janeiro. 

"I am confident that it will be a good performance. Pressure is there but I am sure all of them can handle it. All three of them have the ability," the 33-year-old Manipuri said. "We will be praying for them. Boxing is a complex sport, but I am sure, our boys will do the country proud."

It has been a tough ride so far with Indian boxing hogging the headlines for all the wrong reasons in recent years -- from political turmoils to administrative problems to the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation getting terminated by the International Boxing Association (AIBA). Nevertheless, the athletes didn't lose their focus and kept pursuing the glory and they have now richly benefitted. Only glory lies ahead.

Let's look at the three Indian boxers participating in Rio 2016:

Shiva Thapa (56 kg)

Age: 22.

Born: Guwahati.

Major achievements: Gold medal in Asian Olympic Qualifiers 2012, Gold medal at the Asian Confederation Boxing Championship in Jordan in 2013.

Performance in Olympics 2012: Exit in first round.

Road to Olympics 2016: He became the first boxer to secure a berth for India in Rio 2016 after reaching the final of the Asian Qualifying Tournament in China in March 2016.

Expected first appearance in Rio 2016: Aug. 10; 8 p.m. IST. Venue - Rio centre.

Manoj Kumar (64 kg)

Age: 29.

Born: Haryana.

Major achievements: Gold medal in Commonwealth Games 2010, Gold medal at South Asian Games 2016, Arjuna Award winner in 2014.

Performance in Olympics 2012: Exit in pre-quarterfinals.

Road to Olympics 2016: He qualified after reaching the semifinals of the World Qualifying Tournament organised by the International Boxing Association (AIBA) in Baku, Azerbaijan, in June 2016.

Expected first appearance in Rio 2016: TBD.

Vikas Krishan (75 kg)

Age: 24.

Born: Haryana.

Major achievements: Gold medal at the Asian Youth Boxing Championships in 2010, Bronze medal at the Asian Games 2014, Silver medal at the Asian Boxing Championships 2015.

Performance in Olympics 2012: Exit in preliminary round.

Road to Olympics 2016: He qualified after reaching the semifinals of the World Qualifying Tournament organised by the International Boxing Association (AIBA) in Baku, Azerbaijan in June 2016.

Expected first appearance in Rio 2016: Aug. 8; 9 p.m. IST. Venue - Rio-Centro Pavilion 6.


Shiva Thapa's main contenders - Michael Conlan (Ireland), Murodjon Akhmadaliev (Uzbekistan), Dzmitry Asanau (Belarus).

Manoj Kumar's main contenders - Wuttichai Masuk (Thailand), Vitaly Dunaytsev (Russia), Yasniel Toledo (Cuba).

Vikas Krishan's main contenders - Arlen Lopez Cardona (Cuba), Michael O'Reilly (Ireland), Bektemir Melikuziev (Uzbekistan).

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