Ahmedabad: Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain’s last-minute entry after recovering from a freak injury will spice up the competition in the boxing competitions at the 36th National Games, starting at the Mahatma Mandir here from October 5.
Lovlina, who suffered a minor injury on her nose during the selection trials for the Asian championships in Amman had earlier pulled out of the ongoing Games. A poor outing at the World Championships early this year followed by a pre-quarterfinal exit from the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, did not justify the lanky Assamese boxer’s potential, and as such the National Games could provide the two-time World Championship bronze medallist in 69kg category, a perfect platform to access herself ahead of the Asian Championship in Jordan, starting October 30 in Amman, Jordan.
“Initially the doctors advised her three weeks of rest, but she wanted to feature at the National Games if she recovers on time. She was given a nose cap too. Accordingly, the Assam Amateur Boxing Association (AABA) replaced Lovlina with Bhagyabati Kachari, and after 10 days, the Tokyo medallist came back to us and said she has regained full fitness. We went by her words and requested for another change with the organisers to which they obliged,” said Hemanta Kumar Kalita, the general secretary of Boxing Federation of India.
“We hope Lovlina makes full use of the opportunity at the National Games, and gets back to full shape before the Asian championships,” he added.
Along with Lovlina (75kg), all eyes will be pinned on the 21-year-old Jaismine Lamboria from the boxing nursery of Bhiwani in Haryana. Jaismine recently created history by becoming the first-ever female boxer to join the Indian Army after her recent bronze medal at Commonwealth Games 2022 in the 60kg division. Jasmine is expected to face a stiff fight from Punjab’s Simranjit Kaur Baatth, the 2018 world championship bronze medallist.
Former World championships medallist Saweety Boora (75kg, Haryana), Poonam (57kg, Haryana) and Assam pugilists Jamuna Boro (57kg) and ex-world youth champion Ankushita Boro (66kg) will also be among the leading women boxers expected to set the ring alight. The event will provide the right platform for the likes of young promising Delhi pugilist Anjali Tushir and Lalita of Rajasthan in the welterweight category.
According to national women’s boxing coach Bhaskar Bhatt, powerhouse Haryana will dominate the women’s division, but Assam, who have fielded some good boxers, and Rajasthan, will also shine in the tournament.
Meanwhile, nine of the 13 boxers participating at the Asian championships, including world championship bronze medalist Shiva Thapa (67kg) of Assam and two-time Commonwealth Games medalist Md Hussamuddin (57kg) of the Services, will lead the roster in the men’s boxing events at the Games. Besides the 57kg weight division, several Services boxers are expected to dominate the competition in the other weight categories, with Sumit Kundu (75kg), Sachin Kumar (80kg), Sanjeet (92kg), Narender (+92kg) confirming their participation for the Games.
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