Two-time World Championships bronze medallist, Lovlina won the Asian Championships in the 75kg category but she is still adjusting to her new weight category. “The focus is on improving my punching power as my opponents will be stronger than in the 69kg category,” said Lovlina. Also eyeing Commonwealth Games champion Neetu Ghanghas (48kg) and last season’s bronze medalist Manisha Mon (57kg). Sakshi Chowdhary (52kg), Preeti (54kg), Shashi Chopra (63kg), Sanamcha Chanu (70kg) are also expected to do well.
This is the third time that India is hosting this prestigious tournament. But boycotts by several countries, a conflict between the International Boxing Association (IBA) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and a court case have taken the sheen off the tournament. More than 10 countries, including the US, Britain and Ireland, pulled out of the tournament after the IBA, headed by Russia’s Umar Kremlev, allowed boxers from Russia and Belarus to compete under their own flags, contrary to IOC recommendations.
Also the ongoing tussle between the two world bodies has created a lot of confusion as the IOA said it will be in charge of the 2024 Paris Olympic qualifiers and not the IBA which is suspended since 2019. But the IBA has announced that they will hold a qualification event and the men’s and women’s world championships will be the main qualifiers this year. Kremlev clarified on Tuesday that the IOC would remain in charge of qualifying events and that the two bodies needed to cooperate and coordinate.
However, he insisted that all qualification tournaments should be managed by the IBA. Indian national champions Manju Rani (48kg), Shiksha Narwal (54kg) and Poonam Poonia (60kg) have moved court for not qualifying for the World Championships under the new selection policy of the Boxing Federation of India (BFI). Due to which another controversy arose in the national camp. Under the new policy, the boxers were assessed for three weeks under various parameters where Neetu, Preeti and Jasmine Lamboria beat them to make it to the team of the tournament.
The Delhi High Court eventually refused to interfere in the issue. More than 300 boxers from 65 countries will participate in the 13th edition of the championship. The gold winner of the competition will be given a prize money of one lakh dollars while the silver medalists will get 50 thousand dollars. Both the bronze medal winners will be given 25-25 thousand dollars. India had won three medals including one gold in the last tournament. The Indian team will be hoping to match their 2006 performance at home when the boxers won eight medals, including four gold.
The Indian team is as follows: Neetu Ghanghas (48kg), Nikhat Zareen (50kg), Sakshi Chowdhary (52kg), Preeti (54kg), Manisha Mon (57kg), Jasmine Lamboria (60kg), Shashi Chopra (63kg), Manju Bamboria (66kg), Sanamcha Chanu (70kg), Lovlina Borgohain (75kg), Sweety Boora (81kg) and Nupur Sheoran (81kg+).
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