Mary Kom leads India’s best to take on the world’s best

Harpal Singh Bedi
Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Over 300 boxers from 73 countries set to take part in World Championship

New Delhi: The AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships 2018, beginning at the Indira Gandhi Stadium here from Wednesday, promises action-packed contests in 10 weight categories as over 300 boxers from 73 countries will compete for the World Championship.

The highlight of 10th edition will be that new countries-Scotland, Malta, Bangladesh, Cayman Islands, DR Congo, Mozambique, Sierra Leone and Somalia-are making their debut to make the New Delhi championships very special, which will be the biggest single-discipline event to be held in the national captial after last year’s 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

India’s top contender MC Mary Kom, who is chasing her dream of sixth world crown, is the favourite in 48 kg, there are other serious gold medal challengers like Virginia Fuchs (51 kg) from the US, Lin Yu-Ting (54) from Taipei, Yin Junhua (57) from China, Mira Potkonen (60) from Finland, Simranjit Kaur (64) from India, Gu Hong (69) from China, Nouchka Fontijn (75) from the Netherlands, Wang Lina (81) and defending champion Yang Xiaoli (+81), both from China, to name a few, along with other Olympic and European championships medal winners.

Several countries have sent young and experienced boxers with proven records, who are capable of running even the Olympic medallists close in each category. The contestants, especially from the US and Puerto Rico and some European countries apart from the Asian nations are expected to lead the way.

The significance of the championships can be gauged from participants of the 12 countries that arrived a week before to get themselves acclimatized to the conditions and spar with pugilists from other countries to prepare for the D-Day.
All the boxers, especially the visitors, expressed their satisfaction at the facilities, calling it ‘exceptional.’ They even acknowledged it in their feedback to AIBA, which has been constantly interacting with them.

 Mira Potkonen, the only Finnish boxer to win medals in world championships (Asthana) and Olympics (Rio) was equally thrilled to be here. “I am looking forward to make this world event a memorable one for me personally and hope to win a gold medal,” said the 37-year-old, whose ring craft and defence have been her assets.

To ensure smooth conduct and comfort of participants, the BFI has for the first time roped in 20 junior boxers, drawn from different states and academies, as volunteers. “This would give a lifetime opportunity to these young, budding boxers a ringside view to watch the bouts,” said the BFI Chief.

The Indian team:
Mary Kom (48 Kg), Pinky Jangra (51 Kg), Manisha Maun (54 Kg), Sonia (57 Kg), L Sarita Devi (60 Kg), Simranjit Kaur (64 Kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69 Kg), Saweety Boora (75 Kg), Bhagyabati Kachari (81 Kg), Seema Poonia (+81 Kg).

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