Tokyo Olympic Games bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain’s last-minute entry into the 36th National Games will spice up competition in the boxing ring at the Mahatma Mandir here from Wednesday.
Lovlina, who suffered a minor injury on her nose during the selection trials for the Asian Championships, had earlier indicated that she would not be able to compete in the Games.
A poor outing at the World Championships earlier this year, followed by a pre-quarterfinal exit from the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, did not do justice to the lanky Assamese boxer’s potential.
Thus, the National Games could provide the two-time World Championship 69kg bronze medallist a perfect platform to assess herself ahead of the continental meet, starting on October 30 in Amman, Jordan.
Boxing Federation of India Secretary-General Hemanta Kumar Kalita said the Federation had requested the organising committee to allow the change of entry.
“Accordingly, the Assam Amateur Boxing Association requested for Lovlina to be restored in place of her replacement Bhagyabati Kachari,” he said. “We hope Lovlina makes full use of the opportunity and gets back to shape before the Asian Championships,” Kalita said.
Along with Lovlina (75kg), all eyes will be on 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 on Sports quota after her recent 60kg bronze medal in the Commonwealth Games. Jasmine is expected to face a stiff fight from Punjab’s Simranjit Kaur Baatth, the 2018 World Championship bronze medallist.
Haryana’s former World Championships medallist Saweety Boora (75kg) and Poonam (57kg) 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. Delhi’s Anjali Tushir and Lalita (Rajasthan) can use the platform to make waves.
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 medallist Shiva Thapa (67kg, Assam) and two-time Commonwealth Games medallist Mohammed Hussamuddin (57kg, Services), will lead the roster in the men’s events at the National Games.
Besides the 57kg division, several Services boxers are expected to dominate the competition in their weight categories, with Sumit Kundu (75kg), Sachin Kumar (80kg), Sanjeet (92kg), Narender (+92kg) confirming their participation.