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Women’s Boxing Worlds: Nikhat, Lovlina lead Indian contingent against depleted field

The world’s greatest boxing stars will descend on India when the 2023 Women’s World Boxing Championships kick off in New Delhi on Wednesday.

This is the third time India has hosted the World Championships – the competition (which was introduced in 2001) was held here in 2006 and 2018. This will also be the biggest competition ever – more than 350 female boxers from 74 countries will have enrolled.

There are numerous topics of conversation leading up to the World Cups: from Team India to countries boycotting the event, as well as an administrative dispute, there is a lot going on.

What is at stake?

Confusion #1. The International Boxing Association (IBA), which was suspended by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) last year, announced that the men’s and women’s world championships will be the “main qualifying events” for the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympic Games. , the IOC has denied it, but the IBA stands firm.

Such is the confusion that even the hosts, the Boxing Federation of India (BFI), are seeking clarity. “There is no clarity on that. The IOC will make a decision on whether the results here will be considered for (Paris) Olympic qualification or whether another tournament will be announced at a later date,” BFI president Ajay Singh said last week. . So yeah… that’s it.

All that is certain is that each of the winners in the 12 categories will walk away with $100,000 in prizes.

Didn’t we have a new world champion last year?

Oh yes, Nikhat Zareen! She has been in an electrical form. She won the Strandja Memorial, the World Championships and the Commonwealth Games last year and this time she is India’s firm favorite to win medals. She made the full-time switch to the 50kg class (which replaced 52kg as the Olympic weight class), but that won’t change her game much, as she won 50kg gold at the Olympics. Commonwealth.

We also have an Olympic medalist, yes?

Lovlina Borgohain hasn’t had the best run since her bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics, but competing at home could be the solution for her. She made a major change by moving up to the 75kg class after she dropped out of the 69kg class, in which she won her bronze medals at both the Worlds and the Olympics.

Lovlina’s reach was her big weapon in the 69kg class, but that may not be the case at 75kg. A severe test awaits her, which would help her assess and take stock of what she needs to work before the Asian Games and the Olympic Games.

What is India’s full squad for the Women’s World Boxing Championships?

India will be represented by: Nitu Ghanghas (48kg), Nikhat Zareen (50kg), Sakshi Chaudhary (52kg), Preeti (54kg), Manisha Moun (57kg), Jaismine Lamboria (60kg), Shashi Chopra (63 kg), Manju Bamboria (66kg), Sanamcha Chanu (70kg), Lovlina Borgohain (75kg), Saweety Boora (81kg) and Nupur Sheoran (81+kg).

So wait… right Mary Kom?

No, Mary has not returned to competitive boxing since suffering an injury during the Commonwealth Games trials last year. The six-time world champion has been named an ambassador for the event. However, she is itching to get back in the ring.

“I’m trying to come back soon. Since I only have this year, next year I’ll be forced to retire. So this year I want to compete in any competition before retiring,” she said Monday. She turns 41 in November, passing the maximum participation age of 40.

As is the case… any court case related to team selection?

Bet! Manju Rani (48 kg), Shiksha Narwal (54 kg) and Poonam Poonia (60 kg) appealed to the Delhi High Court. In their written petition, they argued that all the other gold medalists at the national championships, except for the three of them, were chosen for the World Cup.

However, the case did not stand as the selections were made solely on the basis of the new selection policy drafted by the new Director of High Performance, Bernard Dunne.

What is the conversation about nations boycotting the event?

Several countries, including England, the United States, Ireland, Sweden and Ukraine, are boycotting the event over the IBA’s decision to allow Russian and Belarusian boxers to compete under their own flag. The IBA decision goes against IOC recommendations due to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

This would also thin out the playing field with top athletes such as Irish Olympic champions Kellie Harrington (60kg) and Lauren Price (75kg) and reigning world champions Rashida Ellis (USA, 60kg), Amy Broadhurst (Ireland, 63kg) and Lisa O’Rourke. (Ireland, 70kg) will miss the event.

Where can I watch the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championship?

The IBA Women’s World Boxing Championship will be broadcast live on the AIB Youtube channel. Alternatively, you can buy tickets, starting at ₹99, here.