IBF Press Release
Women’S Conntinental Boxing Championships Beckons

The 2012 Asian Confederation Women’s Boxing Championship will be held from 16th to 26th March in the capital of Mongolia, Ulan Bator. The Continental Championship will be a good testing ground for the big-ticket tourneys coming up later this year. The event will serve as a good preparatory event for the women pugilists participating in the first and only Olympic Qualifying tournament in the sport of women boxing, the 2012 AIBA World Women’s Boxing Championships to be held from 9-20 May in Qinhuangdao, China.

India has been among the few countries that have pioneered women’s boxing in the continent. The Asian Championships has always been a happy hunting ground for the Indian women pugilists. The sport made its continental debut with the first Asian Women's Boxing Championships in 2001. Ever since the inaugural edition in Bangkok, Indian women have consistently excelled at the event. Among the array of accolades that India has succeed in accruing at the Asian Championship, the achievements of two Manipuri women stand out exponentially. Veteran boxers L Sarita Devi and MC Mary Kom have accomplished insurmountable feats at this level of the game. Sarita has been successful at winning a medal at all the editions of the tournament; she won silver at Bangkok in the feather weight division and followed it up with four consecutive gold medals twice each in bantam and fly weight division. Five time and reigning world champion Mary on the other hand missed out on a medal in 2001, but has bagged three gold medals and one silver medal since. She won the silver at Guwahati, Assam in 2008 and has won the light fly title thrice including, at the previous edition in 2010 at Astana, Kazakhstan.

The Asian Games bronze medallist is currently honing her skills at the Balewadi sports complex in Pune, with revered English coach Charles Atkinson. For Mary, who would be spearheading the Indian attack at the Asian Championships, the competition will be instrumental in her preparation for the World Championships and the Olympics.??Still new to the 51 kilogram weight category, the 28 year old expects to get good exposure out of this tournament.?“The Asian Championships will be a big test for me; it will be my first major tournament in the 51 kg weight after the Asian Games in 2010. Lot of good women boxers in world come from Asia, so this event will provide me a good opportunity to access my game before the big events ? the World Championships and the Olympics”.?????

Four times Asian Champion, Sarita, is also a part of the Indian team selected for the Asian Championship. She also recently shifted to 60 kilogram weight category ? a move, she says was long overdue and has suited her body structure well. She started her career in the 57 weight category, played in the 54kg class, before finally settling into the 51kg division. But over the years she has had difficulties maintaining her weight because of her height. After much deliberation and consultation with National Coach D Chandra Lal she decided to switch to 60 kg. And like her Manipur comrade and every other athlete, she too desires for an Olympic medal. “Like every other women boxer, Olympic qualification is of utmost importance and I have been training very hard to make the cut. But before the World Championships, the continental Championships, will be the first major assessment in this weight division and I am quite confident of a good performance,” expressed Sarita.

Accompanying the two stalwarts of Indian women’s boxing at the championship would be?Arafura Games gold medallist Pinki Jangra. For the 21 year old, who will be making her debut at the Asian Championship, this tournament would be her first major international tournament.?The Haryana girl who?has been tagged as the Giant Killer in the domestic circuit is keenly looking forward to the championship as an opportunity to break into the international scene. Heavy weight boxer and a bronze medallist at the 5th Asian Women Boxing Championship Kavita will also be seen in action?Mongolia.?

Coach Chander Lal said that the Asian Championships will be the big litmus test for the Indian Women before the World Championships and the Olympic Games. He stated,?“The sixth edition of the continental championships will have an added edge to it. The event is a precursor to the Olympic qualifying tournament and therefore all boxers from participating countries will be gunning to get in a good stride and start off well. A number of good pugilists would have altered their weight to fit into the Olympic weight divisions and this would make the competition all that more tough and difficult to predict”.?Talking about India’s chances at the tournament he said,?“All our girls selected to partake in the event are the best in their weight division. But we also have to remember that our two best performers at the Asian Championships are now fighting in a different weight divisions. It is tough to forecast if we would be able to strike gold at Mongolia, but I can with some assurance say that we will return with five medals.”

The complete squad for the Asian Championships is as follows:

Indian team for 2012 Asian Women's Championships
SNO Name Wt. Cat Unit
1 Pinky Jangra Light Fly Weight (48kg) HAR
2 MC Mary Kom Fly Weight (51kg) AIP
3 Sonia Lather Bantam Weight (54kg) HAR
4 K Mandakini Chanu Feather Weight (57kg) AIP
5 L Sarita Devi Light Weight (60kg) AIP
6 Meena Rani Light Welter Weight (64kg) RSPB
7 Monica Saun Welter weight (69kg) PUN
8 Pooja Rani Middle Weight (75kg) HAR
9 Bhagyabati Kachari Light Heavy Weight (81kg) ASM
10 Kavita Chahal Heavy Weight (+81kg) AIP
Support Staff
1 Team Manager Brig PK Muralidharan Raja
2 Head Coach Anoop Kumar
3 Coach D Chandra Lal
4 Coach Hemlata Negi
5 Coach Geeta Chanu
6 Doctor Dr Sanjogita Soodan
7 Physiotherapist Hema Valecha

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