Six-time world champion MC Mary Kom and Asian Games gold medallist Amit Panghal are among the top names missing from the list of boxers finalised for the 13-day national camps. However, Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist Lovlina Borgohain has been included in the list.
In fact, none of the five male boxers who competed in the Tokyo Olympics, including Manish Kaushik, Ashish Chaudhary, Vikas Krishan and Satish Kumar, have made the list of 52 men who will train from December 11 to 24 at Patiala’s National Institute of Sports (NIS). Of these, Vikas is currently nursing a shoulder injury requires surgery.
The women’s camp will be held at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) Centre in Rohtak on the exact same dates.
“It’s because they did not compete in the national championships. It was pre-decided that this camp will only be for national medal winners and the ones who were picked after a trial at the end of Nationals,” a top federation source told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
“It does not apply to camps that will be held later and nobody should get too concerned about missing out here. All those who are not there right now will have a chance to be back in the camps that will be held later,” he added.
When contacted, Mary Kom did not dwell on the subject and said, “I am just training at home right now. I will get down to rigorous training with my team in mid-January and prepare for the world championships.”
The 38-year-old Manipuri, who is a former Olympic bronze-medallist, is also a serving Rajya Sabha MP. She is aiming to compete in the world championships and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham next year.
The women’s world championship, to be held in Istanbul, was pushed from December this year to March by the International Boxing Association (AIBA) because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event is set to be further delayed to May next year.
The national women’s camp will feature 49 boxers, including the likes of Tokyo Olympics bronze-medallist Lovlina Borgohain (70kg), former junior world champion Nikhat Zareen (52kg), and Asian champion Pooja Rani (81kg) among others.
Borgohain did not compete in the nationals either, but in her case, the federation had decided to make an exception due to her medal-winning performance in Tokyo.
“The list is as per the last executive committee meeting decision in which Lovlina was the only one given an exemption,” the source said.
Also, there is Arundhati Chaudhary, the 19-year-old youth world champion who kicked up quite a storm when she challenged Borgohain’s automatic selection for the world championship in the Delhi High Court. The federation ultimately agreed to a trial after the mega-event was postponed.
Her national gold had secured her a place in the camp and she would be trying to make an impression.
In the men’s camp, five-time Asian medallist Shiva Thapa (63.5kg), Asian silver-medallist Deepak Kumar (51kg) and former world championship quarterfinalist Kavinder Bisht (57kg) are among the prominent names in the list of campers.
The two camps will be conducted by new head coaches for both men and women. While Narender Rana will be in charge of the men, Bhaskar Bhatt will be heading the women’s camp.