Unruffled by the administrative wrangling in the national federation and unconcerned about the tough new rules that await them, a 10-member Indian boxing team, including comeback-man Vijender Singh, will leave on Friday for the World Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan starting October 14.
India will compete under the International Boxing Association's flag due to the provisional suspension on the Indian Boxing Federation.
"Let's see how things go, in such big events, you can never really say whether a medal is there or not. More than 500 boys from all over the world, we hope to put our best foot forward and hope for the best," national coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu said after the 10 boxers underwent light training at the Karnail Singh Stadium here on Thursday.
"We have been training hard but we haven't competed too much due to the suspension. Let's see how things pan out," added the team's Cuban coach Bas Iglesias Fernandes.
The Word Championships will see boxers fighting it out without the head-guard, an important safety gear in the bloody sport. It could well be the last big event for the senior men's team as the AIBA has threatened to ban India if IBF does not hold its re-elections by December first week latest.
All eyes will be on Vijender (75kg), Indian boxing's first Olympic and World Championships medallist who found himself being dragged into a drug scandal earlier this year.
"Even in 2009 World Championships, when I got a bronze, my abilities were questioned by critics. So, I am used to questions like 'can he do it?'," laughed the 27-year-old who is all set for his fourth appearance in the mega-event. The team has some promising youngsters such as Asian Championships gold-medallist Shiva Thapa (56kg) and the silver-medallist from the same event, Mandeep Jangra (69kg).
While Shiva is merely 19, Mandeep is a of 20.
"We are excited, nervous all rolled into one. Hopefully we can make a mark," said Mandeep.
"Just hope to give the best and the rest is upto god," added Shiva.
India has so far bagged ony two medals in the World Championships. Vijender opened the account in 2009, Milan edition followed by Vikas Krishan, who also got a bronze in the 2011 edition in Azerbaijan.