Amidst the controversy surrounding the selection of six-time World champion M.C. Mary Kom without trials, the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) on Thursday announced a 10-member squad for the World women’s boxing championships to be held in Russia from October 3 to 13.
India Open gold medalists Sarita Devi (60kg), Neeraj (57kg) and Jamuna Boro (54kg) are among the 10 women boxers selected to represent India as the three-day trials came to an end at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium here on Thursday.
Six-time world champion Mary Kom (51kg) and World Championships bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) had already confirmed their places in the squad due to their consistent performances in the last few months.
Manipur’s Sarita Devi, a world champion in 2006, confirmed yet another trip to the prestigious tournament to be held in Russia in October when she dominated last year’s World Championships bronze medallist Simranjit Kaur in 60kg. Simranjit had been in good form of late as validated by her gold from the Indonesia President’s Cup last month and a flawless win over Parveen at the trials. But in the final, she went down to the highly motivated Sarita Devi, who won her eighth medal from the Asian Championships this year.
Fresh from claiming the gold at the Umakhanov Memorial International just last week, Haryana pugilist Neeraj continued her winning streak by edging Asian Championships bronze medallist Manisha Moun to secure the 57kg berth. Neeraj had even conquered the India Open gold back in May. Manisha’s gritty upset win over the World Championships silver medallist Sonia Chahal a day earlier was not enough for her to withstand the barrage of punches from the young Neeraj.
In 75kg, Asian Championships gold medallist Pooja Rani failed to assert her supremacy even after a series of strong performances that saw her bagging the bronze from the Umakhanov Memorial International and subsequently dashing the hopes of India Open champion Bhagyabati Kachari in her opening bout at the trials.
The experienced boxer was beaten by Saweety Boora, a gold medallist from the same tournament a year before, who had started the trials with an effortless win over Pooja.
In 48kg, Strandja Cup silver medallist Manju Rani gave a display of her immense talent once again when she overpowered Indonesia President’s Cup gold medallist Monika. While Manju Rani had outpunched Kalaivani to reach the final, Monika had pummelled Neetu into submission.
The 64kg also witnessed an upset when Assam’s 2017 world youth champion Ankushita Boro was blanked by Madhya Pradesh girl Manju Bomboriya in a scintillating performance. This weight category turned out to be highly competitive with two exciting semifinals. Ankushita needed to work hard to see off Lalita in an evenly-matched bout while Manju thwarted a comeback from Strandja Cup bronze medallist Pwilao Basumatary.
Indonesia President's Cup gold medallist Jamuna Boro had to dig deep to stave off a stiff resistance from Shiksha and book her 54kg World Championships ticket. Shiksha had earlier stunned the Cologne Boxing World Cup gold medallist Meena Kumari in a gruelling encounter to reach the final.
In 81kg, Chandigarh’s Nandini outlasted Lalfakmawi while Kavita Chahal emerged triumphant over Neha Yadav in +81kg. Earlier, Lalfakmawi had prevailed over Jigyasa in 81kg and Neha had blitzed past Anaswara in +81kg.
The World Championships will take place in Ulan Ude, Russia from October 3-13, 2019.
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