India pugilists Mary Kom and Manju Rani are likely to miss the National Boxing Championship starting December 2 in Kerala. The country’s top women boxers are expected to be part of the event, except Mary and Rani – bronze and silver medallists in the recent World Boxing Championship.
A report in the Times of India suggests that the nationals will serve as trials which will determine the national squad for the Asian Boxing Championships next February. It is believed that Mary, despite failing to seal an automatic berth in the World Boxing Championship, will be sent to the Wuhan, China next year by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) on the basis of a medal finish. Since Mary and Rani won medals, both are likely to miss the trials in Kerala.
That said, the authorities are keen to have Mary on board in some other capacity considering she’s the face of Indian boxing, having won six World Championship golds and a bronze medal in 2012 London Olympics.
“However, we’re trying to bring in Mary Kom as a celebrity guest during the one-week event,” Dr Raje CB, secretary, Kerala State Amateur Boxing Association, said. “But the other two bronze medallists at World’s, Lovlina Borgohain in 69kg and Jamuna Boro in 54 kg will be there.”
Barring Lovlina and Boro, the event will also see participation from the likes of Nikhat Zareen, Pinki Rani, Sashi Chopra, Sonia Lather Singh, Kavita Chahal, Sarita, Simranjit Kaur Pikwao Basumatary, Seema Punia and more. Besides, this is the third time Kerala is hosting the Nation, having earlier staged the event in Kollam in 2004 and Thrissur in 2010.
“In 2004 and 2010, we were runners-up. We will give it our best shot this time too. We expect a budget of Rs 1 crore for the seven-day event. I hope both the state government, public sector companies and private firms will come forward and support boxing in a big way,” Raje added.