Notwithstanding their past achievements, MC Mary Kom, L Sarita Devi, Kavita Goyat, Chhoto Laura and N Usha's selection for the upcoming Indoor Asian Games in Vietnam is bound to raise eyebrows.
Reason: They will represent the country in the intra-continental meet despite none-too-impressive outings in the senior nationals that concluded in Jamshedpur on Thursday.
Usually, the boxers are selected on the basis of their showing in the national championships, but here, the selection committee of the India Boxing Federation (IBF) picked the five-member team one and half month before the meet in Jamshedpur. The Sports Ministry has also cleared the squad for the event that starts on October 29.
Railways' Laura (51kg) couldn't even qualify for the meet while Usha, the fifth member of the squad, skipped the nationals due to injury. Kalpana Choudhary (48kg), the first reserve of the team, also couldn't do much in Jamshedpur.
Asked if the IBF now plans to replace them with the winners of the national meet, Col PK Muralidharan Raja, general secretary of the IBF, responded in negative.
“The team has already been finalised for the Indoor Asian Games, so there is no question of changing the squad,” Raja told HT. “It's by chance that they lost. They were the best when the selection trails were conducted,” he added.
The national team had a preparatory camp in the Capital but defeats in the national championship three weeks before the inter continental meet have put a question mark on their preparations.
“Chhoto Laura didn't even figure in the Railways squad for the nationals as she lost in their departmental competition. How come then she is in the Indian team,” questioned one of the boxers. “The standard of Indian boxing is quite high and even our second rung boxers are capable of winning medals at Asian meets. Since the regulars have suffered defeats in the nationals, they should be replaced,” the boxer added.