India will not be fielding male boxers in the 64kg and 81kg categories, along with a couple of women’s divisions, in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, the trials for which would be held by the end of this month.
The women categories to be dropped are 57kg and 75kg with the Boxing Federation of India citing low medals prospects in these divisions as the reason for their axing, a top source told PTI.
The decision means that India would be fielding an eight-strong men’s squad (49kg, 52kg, 56kg, 60kg, 69kg, 75kg, 91,kg,+91kg) and four-member women’s team (48kg, 51kg, 60kg and 69kg) for the Games to be held from April 4 to 15.
The deadline to submit the final squads is March 5 and the trials are expected to be held after both the men’s and women’s squads return from Bulgaria after competing in the ongoing Strandja Memorial Tournament early next week.
However, the BFI was tight-lipped about the development with Secretary General Jay Kowli saying, “I am not going to comment on individual weight categories which may or may not be there. But every boxer will be given a fair chance.”
“We had decided that one trial alone would not be the criteria and we are assessing each boxer’s performance in every tournament. Once the teams are back from Strandja, we will be finalising the squads for CWG,” he said.
“We no longer have one-day trials. So, boxers are put through enough rigours to ensure that the best is chosen to represent the country. Right now, we are not just targeting the Commonwealth Games but also the Asian Games,” he added.
The dropping of 64kg and 81kg categories does not come as much of a surprise given that medals have not been coming in these divisions. But the women’s 57kg category being axed is certain to raise a few eyebrows.
Sonia Lather has delivered a world and Asian silver medal in this division even though she bowed out early from last month’s India Open in Delhi and the ongoing Strandja Memorial.
Asked if a boxer, whose weight category is dropped, would be allowed to give a trial in a different division, Kowli said, “We will work that out in the next few days.”
Speaking of days, the BFI would have just about four to finalise the CWG squads after the teams return from Bulgaria.
“That’s enough time to sort it out, it won’t be a problem,” asserted Kowli.
India are 12th in the all-time CWG medal list of boxing, having won five gold, nine silver and 14 bronze. The country first won a boxing gold at the quadrennial event in 2002 through Mohammed Ali Qamar.
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