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Muthu is Busan bound

New Delhi: Thandava Muthu will be the sole male weightlifter to represent India in the Busan Asian Games with the government deciding to clear his participation at the last moment.

Muthu, who won a silver and a bronze at the Commonwealth Games, was given the green signal by the sports ministry Wednesday and he would be joining women lifters Kunjurani Devi, Pratima Kumari, Shailaja Pujari and Sanamacha Chanu for the Games.

According to Balbir Singh Bhatia, member of the ad-hoc committee of Indian Weightlifting Federation, “only Muthu was cleared” to participate in the tournament.

The delayed decision to clear Muthu seemed to have been taken after the doping scandal in Manchester in which two Indian lifters — K. Madasami and Satheesh Rai were stripped of their medals for testing positive for banned substances.

Boxing hopes

In boxing, Indians are all charged up for another spirited performance. Dingko Singh, it may be remembered, brought an end to the 16-year gold drought at the Bangkok Games four years ago.

The eight-member team, will have to face world-class boxers from Korea, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.

Despite Korea’s domination in the Asian Games — 53 gold, 17 silver and 19 bronze so far —Indian pugilists are going with a positive frame of mind.

Dingko who sustained an injury during the Bangkok Games, seems to have recovered fully and is rated as the best boxer in the 54kg category in the Asian region.

Mohammad Ali Qamar who won India’s maiden Commonwealth gold in the light flyweight category in Manchester, is high on confidence.

Featherweight Som Bahadur Pun and middleweight Jitender Kumar too are expected to figure in the medals tally, especially the latter.

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