A ten-man strong Indian team was announced for the upcoming Asian Boxing Championships announced with Amit Panghal making his competitive debut in the 52kg category. Besides the Asian Games gold-medallist, Shiva Thapa, in 60kg, will be eying a record-breaking fourth successive medal.
The Asian Championships are scheduled to be held in the Thai capital of Bangkok from April 19 to 28. The women's competition will be held alongside the men's event at the continental showpiece.
Indian women's team for the event was already announced on Saturday with celebrated M C Mary Kom deciding to give it a miss to focus on the world championships and Olympic qualification.
Panghal won a second successive 49kg category gold medal at the prestigious Strandja Memorial Tournament in Bulgaria last month and trained in his new weight division in Germany earlier this month.
The Haryana-boxer has been forced to shift divisions after the 49kg category was dropped from the 2020 Olympic programme.
Thapa also started the new season on a positive note with a silver medal at the GeeBee Tournament in Finland this month.
The former world championship bronze-medallist from Assam has won medals in three previous editions of the Asian showpiece event -- gold in 2013, bronze in 2015 and silver in 2017.
"The boxers who win gold or silver medals at the Asian Championships in the Olympic weight categories will be our automatic choices for the world championships later this year," national coach C A Kuttappa told PTI.
The 49kg category will be represented by national champion Deepak Singh, who clinched a gold medal in the Makran Cup in Iran earlier this month.
Kavinder Singh Bisht, the gold-winner in the GeeBee Tournament, has been picked for the 56kg category, while Commonwealth Games silver-medallist and Satish Kumar was expectedly the choice for the +91kg division. Satish won a bronze medal at the 2015 Asian Championships.
The World Championships, to be held from September 7 to 21 in Yekaterinburg, Russia in September, will be conducted in the new Olympic weight categories as the event will double up as a qualifier for the 2020 Games in Tokyo.
The other weights to have been dropped from the Olympic roster, apart from the 49kg division, are 56kg, 60kg and 64kg. In their place, the International Boxing Association (AIBA) has brought back 57kg and introduced the 63kg division.
Due to the re-jigging, the 60kg category boxers such as Thapa and Commonwealth Games silver-medallist Manish Kumar will be moving to the 63kg division.
"That is why the world championship selection in the 63kg category will be done on the basis of probably trials and an assessment of their sparring performance in the camp," Kuttappa said.
Six-time world champion Mary Kom, who won India's solitary gold medal at the 2017 edition in Vietnam, wants to focus on the World Championships to be held later this year.
In Mary Kom's absence, Sonia and former gold medallist Sarita Devi and ex-world junior champion Nikhat Zareen will spearhead the Indian contingent.
A lot of talented youngsters has made it to the team on the basis of the three-day trials held at the Indira Gandhi Stadium. A total of 46 boxers appeared in trials.
Men: 49kg - Deepak; 52kg - Amit Panghal; 56 kg - Kavinder Singh Bisht; 60kg - Shiva Thapa ,; 64kg - Rohit Tokas; 69kg - Ashish; 75kg - Ashish Kumar; 81 kg - Brijesh Yadav; 91kg - Naman Tanwar; +91kg - Satish Kumar
Women: 48kg - Nitu Manju Rani; 51kg 0 - Nikhat Zareen, Pinki Rani; 54kg - Manisha, Meenakumari; 57kg - Sonia Chahal, Sakshi; 60kg - Sarita Laishram, Parveen; 64kg - Simranjit Kaur, Pwilao Basumatary; 69kg - Lovlina Borgohain, Anjali Tushir; 75kg - Nupur, Pooja; 81kg - Pooja Rani, Nandini; 81+kg - Seema Poonia, Kavita Chahal
(With PTI inputs)
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