Sports

Lovlina and Nikhat insure Asian Games selection after world championships

New Delhi: Olympic bronze medalist Lovlina Borgohain and former junior world champion Nikhat Zareen secured their place in the Indian women’s boxing team for this year’s Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, on Monday after winning their pre-selection final here.

While Zareen secured the roster in the 51kg division, Borgohain took the 69kg spot after trials at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium here.

Both were also part of the World Championships, with Zareen qualifying in the 52kg category and Borgohain taking in 70kg in the trials held last week.

In the Asian Games trial final held this morning, Borgohain defeated Railways boxer Pooja and Zareen defeated Manju Rani, a silver medalist of the 2019 World Championships.

The Asian Games will take place from September 10 to 25.

The World Championships held last week also confirmed the Asian Games rosters in three overlapping divisions: 57kg, 60kg and 75kg. The Asian Games have five women’s categories.

At 57kg, Manisha won her trials to make the cut for both the showpieces, while the promising Jaismine (60kg) and the veteran Saweety Boora (75kg), who won a world silver medal in 2014, also secured double selections for themselves .

The world championships, which will be held in Istanbul from May 6, will be something of a comeback for Borgohain, who has not competed since her bronze achievement at the Tokyo Olympics.

The Assam boxer, who has been training at the national camp since last month, was entertained by several congratulations immediately after her podium finish in the Japanese capital.

The 24-year-old became only the third Indian boxer ever to win an Olympic medal last year, joining an exclusive club that also includes Vijender Singh (2008, Beijing) and MC Mary Kom (2012 London).

Mary Kom, 38, who is a six-time world champion, is only aiming for the Commonwealth Games this year.

Zareen, 25, has had a great start to the year so far winning a gold medal at the prestigious Strandja Memorial Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria. It was her second gold (after 2019) at the European season opener, making her the first Indian to achieve it.

The trials for the Commonwealth Games are scheduled for June. The men’s tests for both the Asiad and the CWG will be held in May.

Indian Women’s Team for Asian Games:

Nikhat Zareen (51kg), Manisha (57kg), Jaismine (60kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), Saweety Boora (75kg).

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