Indian boxers packed a powerful punch in the Commonwealth Games with an unprecedented medal haul but replicating the performance in next month's Asian Games would be tough as they have got very little time for rest and recovery, national coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu said on Monday.
Indian boxers fetched seven medals -- three gold and four bronze -- at the just-concluded Games, two better then their previous best at the 2006 Melbourne edition.
Suranjoy Singh (52kg), Manoj Kumar (64kg) and Paramjeet Samota (+91kg) were the gold-medallists this time while Vijender Singh (75kg), Amandeep Singh (49kg), Dilbag Singh (69kg) and Jai Bhagwan (60kg) settled for bronze after losing in the semfinals.
The historic performance has raised expectations of a rich medal haul in the Asian Games scheduled November 12 to 27 in the Chinese city of Guangzhu. But Sandhu said the CWG performance would be a tough act to follow.
"The Asian Games are too close. Had there been a little more gap and our boxers got a little more time to rest and recover, it would have been better. These celebrations are also taking some time but we cannot complain about getting recognised," said Sandhu on the sidelines of a felicitation function in which team sponsors Monnet Group gave away Rs three lakh to CWG gold medallists and Rs one lakh to bronze winners.
"But the scheduling has always been like this so we can't really do much about it. There is little time for rest and that is something which is very important. That is why I am a bit cautious in my assessment. So, I cannot really give a prediction on how we would do ultimately," he added.
"At the Asian Games, traditional powerhouses like Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan come into the picture and that makes the competition very tough. Besides, China is also a growing power but our boxers have also reached a level where they can beat anyone in the world. They just have to believe in themselves, they have the ability."
India's Cuban coach B I Fernandes said the scheduling might be tough but he is confident of good show from the boxers.
"It's tough on them but they are capable of delivering as they have proved so many times before this," he said.
World number one Vijender said that Asian Games are anyways a tougher proposition when compared to the Commonwealth Games.
"Asian Games are traditionally tougher then the Commonwealth Games. Commonwealth Games are always easier because there is no Kazakhstan or Uzbekistan. As far as the timing is concerned, it is subjective. For instance, if somebody has won a gold medal, he would have the momentum," said the Olympic and World Championship bronze-medallist.
"The gap is very small but we have to make with whatever time we have got," he added.
The Indian team for the Asian Games remains the same except for three changes.
Chhote Lal Yadav comes in for Akhil Kumar in the 56kg division, Vikas Krishan replaces Jai in 60kg and S Santhosh Kumar has been included in place of Manoj in 64kg.
Manoj felt the gap should have been bigger.
"This is an issue every four years. We are practicing but yes it is difficult when two big tournaments are lined up so close to each other. Fitness can be an issue at times," he said.
Similar was the view of Amandeep and Dilbag, both of whom are in the Asian Games team.
"Rest is important, if the gap could have been bigger, it would have been better," said Amandeep.
"Training continues all through the year but recovery and rest also need time and the gap between two events of such magnitude should be more," added Dilbag.