New Delhi: Veteran L Sarita Devi (60kg) will be gunning for her first world championship medal in more than 10 years after she was named in India’s 10-strong women’s boxing squad on Thursday, along with five debutants. Along with Sarita, India Open gold-medallists Neeraj (57kg) and Jamuna Boro (54kg) also made the squad which will be headlined by six-time world champion MC Mary Kom (51kg), who was picked on Wednesday without a trial on the basis of her performance in the past few months.
Manju Rani (48kg), Jamuna Boro (54kg), Neeraj (57kg), Manju Bomboriya (64kg), and Nandini (81kg) will be competing in the mega-event for the first time. Mary Kom’s selection without a trial was on Wednesday criticised by former junior world Nikhat Zareen, who alleged that she was stopped from fighting a scheduled trial bout on Tuesday.
World Championships bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) was also picked without undergoing trials, which concluded on Thursday. The big event is scheduled in Russia from 3 to 13 October. Eight-time Asian medallist Sarita Devi, a world champion in 2006, confirmed her place after defeating last year’s world bronze-medallist, Simranjit Kaur. Simranjit had won a gold in the Indonesia President’s Cup last month.
Fresh from claiming the gold at the Umakhanov Memorial International last week, Haryana pugilist Neeraj continued her winning streak by edging Asian Championships bronze-medallist Manisha Moun to secure the 57kg berth. In the 75kg category, Asian Championships gold-medallist Pooja Rani was beaten by Saweety Boora, a gold-medallist from the same tournament a year before.
In 48kg, Strandja Cup silver-medallist Manju Rani overpowered President’s Cup gold-medallist Monika to claim a spot in the squad. The 64kg also witnessed an upset when Assam’s 2017 world youth champion Ankushita Boro was blanked by Madhya Pradesh girl Manju Bomboriya. President’s Cup gold-medallist Jamuna Boro had to dig deep to stave off stiff resistance from Shiksha and book her 54kg ticket. In 81kg, Chandigarh’s Nandini outlasted Lalfakmawi while Kavita Chahal emerged triumphant over Neha Yadav in +81kg.
The Squad: Manju Rani (48kg), M C Mary Kom (51kg), Jamuna Boro (54kg), Neeraj (57kg), Sarita Devi (60kg), Manju Bomboriya (64kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), Saweety Boora (75kg), Nandini (81kg), Kavita Chahal (+81kg).