London: Beijing Olympics bronze-winner Vijender Singh (75kg) will aim for a medal of different hue in his record third Olympic appearance when the boxing competition kicks off here on Saturday.

The weight classes of Vijender and teen sensation Shiva Thapa (56 kg) get underway at the Excel Arena.

While Vijender is a former world number one and a World Championship bronze-medallist, the 18-year-old Shiva is the Asian Olympic Qualifiers' gold-medallist and this duo carries a lot of expectations in their mitts.

An unprecedented eight Indian boxers -- seven men and for the first time a woman -- are in the British capital faced with sky-high expectations.

M C Mary Kom (51kg), the feisty five-time world champion, will be India's sole representative in women's boxing which makes its Olympic debut on August 5.

Given her mostly unchallenged domination in the ring over the past decade, the Manipuri mother of two children is among the strongest medal contenders.

The fact that she has to win just two bouts to be assured of a medal only adds to the high expectations from her.

And she is not short of motivation either as the 29-year-old could well bid adieu to the ring if she goes on to get a medal and cap a glittering career in which highs have far exceeded lows.

Among the men, Vijender would also look to script history of his own by winning a medal in back-to-back Olympics.

The pin-up boy of Indian boxing came through an agonizing qualification process during which he missed two chances before finally making the cut and he is determined to be remembered as the one who brought most medals rather than the one who made most appearances at the Olympics.

Joining Vijender will be boys whose Olympic dreams took wings after his bronze in Beijing.

One of them is Vikas Krishan (69kg), a fellow Haryanvi who has already emulated Vijender's bronze at the World Championships.

The 19-year-old, who started in the 60kg division, won an Asian Games gold medal (2010) before taking the massive risk of jumping two divisions with less than a year left for Olympics.

The gamble seems to have paid off as the former youth World Championships gold-medallist has made the transition effortlessly and the proof of that was a bronze at the senior World Championships last year.

Joining him will be L Devendro Singh (49kg). The 20-year-old Manipuri could well be the dark horse of the team as he made the Olympic cut at no less than the World Championships where he out-punched some strong rivals before eventually losing in the quarterfinals.

Another teen to watch out for is Sumit Sangwan (81kg), who seems to have come from nowhere to displace the much-established Dinesh Kumar and make the light heavyweight division his own with a gold at the Asian Olympic qualifiers.

The 20-year-old Haryana-lad is a strong bet in a category in which India has never quite done well in the past.

Jai Bhagwan (60) and Manoj Kumar (64kg) are the seasoned campaigners in the group and with a wealth of experience under their belt, the duo would look to make the most of their biggest break at the international level.

While Manoj had clinched a gold medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, Jai is a former Asian Championships silver medallist.


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