Mary Kom chases Commonwealth Games berth in national boxing meet
Having won the gold at the Asian boxing championships in Vietnam in November, Olympic bronze medallist Mary Kom is chasing more international glory.other sports Updated: Jan 02, 2018 18:29 IST
London Olympics bronze medallist MC Mary Kom will be expected to win the 48kg division when boxers step into the ring for the second elite women’s national championships to be held in Rohtak, Haryana from January 6-12.
Fresh from her victorious return to action in the Asian Championships in November, the 34-year-old is focused on 2018, and her first goal is to earn a berth for the Commonwealth Games, to be held in Gold Coast, Australia, in April.
After failing to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics, the diminutive boxer had expressed her desire to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Mary Kom was entered in the 51kg at the London Olympics where there were fewer weight divisions, but prefers to compete in 48kg as she then won’t be required to shed weight. She competed in her favoured category at the Asian meet in Ho Chi Minh City.
“It’s good 48kg will feature in the Commonwealth Games schedule,” she had said.
Mary Kom’s main rival for the qualification berth will be Sarjubala Devi, a world silver medallist from Manipur. They met in the trials for the 2017 Asian championships where Mary Kom outclassed her younger rival to qualification. The Asian meet was her competition since the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
In the last nationals in Haridwar, Sarjubala dominated the 48kg division. It will be interesting to see how she deals with her main rivals this time.
L Sarita Devi will be another prominent boxer in action. The seasoned Manipur boxer had briefly turned pro last year, only to switch back to amateur competition.
After the Asian championships, top boxers were given a break from the national camp. The nationals will be the basis for selecting the probables for the camp, according to Jay Kowli, secretary general of the Boxing Federation of India (BFI).
“We plan to pick 40 players, four from each weight division. The final selection will take place a month before the Commonwealth Games. Only one boxer from each of the six weight categories will be selected,” he told Hindustan Times.
“Probables for the camp will be selected on the basis performance in the national meet, but in case someone misses for a valid reason, she will be given another chance,” he added.
More than 300 boxers are expected to compete in 10 weight categories.