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Controversy over selection hits Indian boxing before World Championships

Three women boxers have threatened to drag BFI to court on the grounds of unfair selection for the Boxing World Championships.

Controversy over selection hits Indian boxing before World Championships

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 4 March 2023 10:27 AM GMT

Three reigning National champions Manju Rani, Shiksha Narwal, and Poonam Ponia have given the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) 48 hours to explain their non-selection in the squad for the upcoming Women's World Boxing Championships.

The trio has questioned the BFI’s selection policy for the World Boxing championships and threatened to drag BFI to court in failure of any explanation.

BFI announced the 12-member squad to be led by reigning world champion Nikhat Zareen and has Olympic medalist Lovlina Borgohain, and CWG champion Nitu Ghangas.

The squad was announced based on a three-week national camp at NIS, Patiala instead of the traditional trial method.

In the evaluation test, High-performance director Bernard Dunne and chief national coaches, Bhaskar Bhatt and CA Kuttappa gave points and rankings to the boxers based on performance in training including endurance and S&C in the first week and for technical and tactical skills during sparring sessions in second and third weeks.

CWG gold medalist Nitu Ghangas was selected in Manju's category of 48 kg as she received the highest points. Although, Manju has claimed that despite Nitu not being part of the National Championships, she was preferred over her. In her letter, she stated," Despite me winning the silver medal at World Championships previously and training regularly, I am removed from the squad without any reason."

She further claimed that such behavior promotes corruption and breaks down the morale of a player.

Similar stories transpired in other categories of 54 kg and 60 kg. In 54 kg, Shiksha Narwal defeated Preeti in the national championships to win the gold medal but found Preeti in the squad for the World Championships instead.

In her letter to BFI President, Shiksha claimed that Preeti was ranked three in the national camp and despite Shiksha's dominance in the category, she was ignored.

In the 60 kg category, CWG bronze medalist Jaismine Lamboria was selected over national champion Poonam Ponia. In her letter, Poonam expressed her disappointment over non-selection and claimed that she will move to court over this issue.

All three boxers have requested, BFI president Ajay Singh, for their inclusion in the squad. They have given the BFI 48 hours to include their names or they will file a writ petition in Delhi high court.

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