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Tokyo bronze medallist Lovlina to compete in two selection trials this week


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The difference in weight category for worlds and Asian Games has forced two competitions; Mary Kom to skip trials until Commonwealth Games selection.

 

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Lovlina Borgohain

 

Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain’s first big challenge afresh will begin at home when she competes in the national selection trials (70kg), starting on Monday. Borgohain will appear in the trials for the world championships, which is in the 70kg division, and then for the Asian Games (69kg), which will be held later in the week. She competed in 69kg at the Tokyo Olympics.

Borgohain has not competed after Tokyo and skipped the senior nationals in October. Her biggest competitor in the welterweight division will be world youth champion Arundhati Choudhary, who moved the Delhi High Court in November against the Boxing Federation of India’s (BFI) decision to give Borgohain the worlds championships berth without selection trials. The tournament was subsequently postponed and will now be held in Istanbul from May 6-21.

Choudhary, the national champion, reached the quarterfinals of Strandja Memorial in Bulgaria, where she lost to Olympic champion Busenaz Surmeneli of Turkey. The other boxers who will fight in 70kg are Pooja, Priyanka and Savita.

rials will be held for all 12 categories of the world championships. Winners of the trials in 57kg, 60kg and 75kg will also get to compete at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China (Sept 10-25). However, two weight divisions (51kg, 69kg) at the Asian Games are different and hence separate trials will be held from March 11-14. Lovlina and Choudhary are expected to reduce weight and fight for the Asian Games berth.

Mary Kom pulls out

Six-time world champion MC Mary Kom, the 2012 Olympic bronze medallist, has pulled out of the trials for the worlds. Kom, who lost in the Tokyo Olympics second round, was expected to compete in lightfly (48kg). In her absence, national champion and Strandja gold medallist Nitu and 2019 world championships silver medallist Manju Rani would be favourites to qualify.

Kom, 39, said she wants to give younger boxers chance for international exposure by competing in major tournaments. “I would like to focus on the preparation for the Commonwealth Games only,” she said.

Having won gold at Strandja Memorial, Nikhat Zareen will be confident of qualifying for the world championships (52kg) and Asian Games (51kg). She will have to turn out twice this week. Tokyo Olympian Simranjeet Kaur (60kg) and Pooja Rani (75kg) are the other big names in fray.

The Asian Games selection trials for men will be held in May while the trials to pick the teams for the Commonwealth Games will be held in June.

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