Boxers target gold in Doha
[ASIAN GAMES] A strong Thai boxing squad, led by the Athens Olympic hero Manus Boonjumnong, arrived in Doha on Sunday night, vowing to pack a good punch at the 15th Asian Games.
Despite a gruelling 25-hour journey from Cuba via Paris to Doha, the Thai team looked fresh and fit. Manus, who has been under fire for months due to a lack of self-discipline, now has a new outlook on life and is full of determination.
A stronger and fitter Manus said after an intensive three-month training programme in Cuba he is ready to go for gold in Doha.
"I shed 13-kilogrammes in three months. Before leaving for Cuba, I weighed 76kg, but now I'm 63.4kg. I trained hard. I know I'm one of Thailand's gold medal hopes and I can't let people down," Manus said at Doha airport.
"I fear no one. I think a medal is within my reach. My toughest rival is a boxer from Uzbekistan. I hope to take him on in the final. I succeeded in Athens and I think I can repeat the feat here," he added.
Boxing team manager Thitiphan Pewsupon said he is satisfied with the Thai team's final preparations for the Asian Games and is convinced they can meet the target of three gold medals set by General Thaweep Chantraroj, president of the Amateur Boxing Association of Thailand.
"Everyone trained hard in Cuba. However, we have to wait and see the draw on December 2. The draw, weigh-in and the first round will take place on the same day," said Thitiphan.
"The Abat's policy is that our boxers must win at least three gold medals and I think it can be a dream come true here. Everyone is fit and determined to win in Doha."
Thailand have eight boxers in eight categories out of 11 in the Asian Games. The Thai team also includes three medallists from the Athens Olympics - Manus, Suriya Prasarthinpimai and Vorapoj Petchkoom.