The boxing competition in the National Games, starting on the Mahatma Mandir campus in Gandhinagar on Wednesday, got a shot in the arm with Olympic bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain making a last-minute decision to enter the competition.
Lovlina had been ruled out of the Games after injuring her nose during the trials for the Asian boxing championships, to be held in Amman from October 30 to November 13.
According to a Boxing Federation of India (BFI) source, the Assam Amateur Boxing Association (AABA) had replaced Lovlina, who had been advised three weeks rest, with international boxer Bhagyabati Kachari in the 75kg weight category but the Olympic medallist made a last minute request to include her in the National Games squad.
Besides Lovlina, Olympian Simranjit Kaur (60kg), Commonwealth Games medallist Jaismine Lamboria (60kg), World championships medallists Jamuna Boro (57kg) and Saweety Boora (75kg) and former World youth champion Ankushita Boro (66kg) will be some of the prominent faces among women to be seen in action.
Lovlina, Simranjit, Ankushita and Saweety have been selected for the Asian championships.
“There is a good gap of 15-20 days between the National Games and the Asian championships. I thought the National Games would help me prepare for the continental event,” said Simranjit.
In the men’s section, former Worlds medallist and multiple Asian medallist Shiva Thapa (67kg), two-time Commonwealth Games medallist Muhammad Hussamuddin (57kg), World youth champion Sachin Siwach (57kg), Asian champion Sanjeet (92kg) and Thailand Open champion Sumit Kundu (75kg) are among the top boxers who will aspire for the top honours.
Altogether nine Asian championships-bound male boxers will take the ring.