Mary Kom, Sarita Devi to skip nationals

JAIPUR (TIP): When the senior national women’s boxing championship begins on October 11, after a gap of almost two-and-a-half years, the star quotient will be missing. With the World Championships lined up next month, MC Mary Kom and L Sarita Devi have decided to skip the tournament. Gold medalist at the recently concluded Asian Games, Mary has decided to rest a minor arm injury, while Sarita wants to spend time with family before getting busy for the World meet.

The Manipur Amateur Boxing Association had sent the entries of both Sarita and Mary for the event to be held in Raipur, the two star boxers decided to stay away. “Mary is nursing a right arm injury, and it’s not possible for her to participate in the nationals. We have already named her substitute,” Mary’s husband Onlar, who will be travelling with the Manipur team to Raipur, told TOI on Wednesday.

Even Sarita, who courted controversy by refusing to accept her bronze medal at the Asian Games, feels this rest is necessary ahead of the World meet in South Korea. “I wanted to participate initially but am not completely fit now,” Sarita explained. Asian Games participant Pooja Rani is also doubtful for the meet.

Meanwhile, ahead of their first national meet, the newly elected Boxing India (BI) is in a spot over the selection of the match officials. The federation is yet to form a core group of referees and judges as all of them are still registered under the now unrecognized Indian Amateur Boxing Federation
(IABF). “It’s just a stop-gap arrangement. We have invited all the match officials for the Nationals. Once we get permanent membership (from the world body, AIBA), we will start the process of selecting the core group,” BI secretary general Jay Kowli said.

Caught in a tussle between AIBA and IABF, boxing activities had come to a standstill in the country but with 32 units set to participate at the Nationals now, the pugilists are hoping to make every opportunity count.

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