Olympic bronze-medallist Lovlina Borgohain and former junior world champion Nikhat Zareen on Monday secured their places in the Indian women’s boxing team for this year’s Asian Games in Hangzhou, China after winning their selection trial finals. While Zareen secured selection in the 51kg division, Borgohain clinched the 69kg spot after trials held at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium. Both of them have also made the world championships squad with Zareen qualifying in the 52kg category and Borgohain making the cut in 70kg in the trials held last week.
In the Asian Games trial finals held this morning, Borgohain defeated Railways’ boxer Pooja, and Zareen got the better of Manju Rani, a silver-medallist from the 2019 World Championships.
The Asian Games are due to be held from September 10 to 25.
In the world championship trials held last week, selections were also confirmed for the Asian Games in three overlapping divisions — 57kg, 60kg and 75kg. The Asian Games feature five women categories.
In 57kg, Manisha won her trial bouts to make the cut for both the showpiece events, while the promising Jaismine (60kg) and the experienced Saweety Boora (75kg), who won a world silver medal in 2014, also ensured twin selections for themselves.
The world championships, to be held from May 6 in Istanbul, will be a comeback of sorts for Borgohain, who has not competed since her bronze-winning feat at the Tokyo Olympics.
The Assam boxer, who has been training at the national camp since last month, was kept busy by several felicitations immediately after her podium finish in the Japanese capital.
The 24-year-old became only the third Indian boxer ever to fetch an Olympic medal last year, joining an exclusive club which also includes Vijender Singh (2008, Beijing) and M C Mary Kom( 2012, London).
The 38-year-old Mary Kom, who is a six-time world champion, is only targetting the Commonwealth Games this year.
The 25-year-old Zareen has had a great start to the year so far, winning a gold medal in the prestigious Strandja Memorial Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria. It was her second gold (after 2019) at the European season-opener, making her the first Indian to achieve this feat.
The trials for the Commonwealth Games are due to be held in June. The men’s trials for both the Asiad and the CWG will be held in May.
Indian women’s team for Asian Games:
Nikhat Zareen (51kg), Manisha (57kg), Jaismine (60kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), Saweety Boora (75kg)
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