NEW DELHI: India’s boxers are set for a hectic round of trials in the coming four months with the national federation unveiling its selection policy for major events such as the Commonwealth and Asian Games scheduled to be held between July and September this year.
As per the Boxing Federation of India’s (BFI) selection policy, which is in PTI’s possession, the first set of trials would be held next month for the women’s world championships in Turkey this May. “Simultaneously, selection trials for the elite women will also be held for selecting boxers for the Asian Games,” the policy stated.
While the dates have not been mentioned in the document, it is learnt from reliable federation sources that the world championship trials would be held from March 7 to 9, followed by the Asiad trials from March 10 to 13.
The women’s trials for the Commonwealth Games will be held in June. The men will undergo selection trials for both the Commonwealth and Asian Games in “middle of May”. The CWG is scheduled first on the competitive calendar, set to be held in Birmingham from July 28 to August 8, while the Asiad will be conducted from September 10 to 25 in Hangzhou, China.
“The selection committee will comprise President, BFI (or his nominee) and expert panel of reputed veteran boxers, preferably Arjuna/Dronacharya awardees, past Olympians and past world championships medallists,” the policy stated.
The trial bouts would be videographed to avoid any complaints and all national campers will be eligible to compete. Both the Commonwealth and Asian Games are going to be crucial events for Indian boxing after the lackluster Olympic performance in Tokyo last year.
Of the unprecedented nine who qualified, including five men and four women, only Lovlina Borgohain could finish on the podium with a bronze in the Japanese capital. It led to an overhaul of the coaching staff and new head coaches were brought in for both men and women.
While the men’s camp is now helmed by Narender Rana, the women’s camp is overseen by former youth coach Bhaskar Bhatt. This was after the BFI carried out a review of the Olympic performance, which came as a shock given the brilliant form that the boxers had displayed in the run-up to the Games.
The five men who went to Tokyo, including world number one Amit Panghal, have not competed ever since the disappointing campaign and joined the national camp just last month. They skipped the 2021 national championships owing to fitness issues and could not travel to Bulgaria for the ongoing Strandja Memorial tournament as it was felt they are not yet “competition ready”.
India had won nine medals, including three gold, and as many silver and bronze medals in the 2018 edition of the Commonwealth Games. The gold-medallists that year were six-time world champion M C Mary Kom, Gaurav Solanki and Vikas Krishan.
Both Mary Kom and Krishan would be aiming for an encore in the upcoming CWG. The Asian Games had yielded one gold and a bronze with Panghal winning the yellow metal and Krishan managing a third-place finish.