No selection trials forced me to switch to 54kg: Nitu Ghanghas
World champion Nitu's decision to switch weight categories before Asian Games came after BFI adopted a no-trials policy.
It's been just over one month since Nitu Ghanghas was crowned World Champion in 48 kg in front of a roaring Indira Gandhi Stadium in Delhi. But the recently crowned champion has decided to bulk up a couple of weight categories to fight in an Olympic category.
Talking to The Bridge about her decision, Nitu said, "It was already confirmed that the boxer win the gold in World Championships in the 50kg category, and that boxer will represent India in this category in the Asian Games. Nikhat had gold in the world championship in this category. So, Nikhat will go to Asian Games. That's why I switched to the 54 kg category."
The new selection policy of the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) where in-camp evaluation is preferred over selection trials prompted the decision by the current World Champion.
Switching up to the 54 kg category meant that Nitu will have to fight the existing boxers in the category for a place in the national camp. In recently conducted trials for the national camp, Nitu defeated Divya Pawar and Sakshi Chaudhary (India's pick in 52kg at the World Championships) to ensure her place among three boxers selected in the 54kg.
"I played in the 54kg category in the trials for our camp selection. I had really good bouts. I had gained weight helping me gain extra pace. So, I got benefited a lot from that," Nitu talked about fighting in the new category.
Bulking up to a new category comes with changed diet plans and training methods. Earlier in a conversation with The Bridge, national women's coach Bhaskar Bhatt had told about what will this mean for Nitu.
"Her playing style and good reach will enable her to perform well in this category. We will focus on her diet and strength training going forward. Knowing her willpower and strengths, I think this is a good move for her," Bhaskar Bhatt told The Bridge.
Underlining the importance of diet, Nitu said, "I changed my diet plan to gain the required weight. My nutritionist has helped me with it. Coming up from a lighter category means that my pace will help in this category."
While Nitu has bulked up, the most anticipated fight between her and Nikhat Zareen (50 kg World Champion) is not happening. Talking about the same, Nitu said," If we had trials, I would have given my best (laughs) but it is not happening. I will give my best in 54 kg now."
The 22-year-old boxer from Bhiwani has been on a golden run since last year. With gold medals in every tournament, she has played (Strandja Memorial, Commonwealth Games, and World Championships), Nitu has been one of the lightweight boxers in India.
Terming all these wins as a learning experience, Nitu said," I have won gold medals in every competition I have played in. I have gained experience from every tournament. I have played in the Commonwealth Games and the World Championships. I have improved a lot."
With Asian Games in sight which will also act as the qualifiers for the 2024 Paris Olympics, Nitu has a big task in front of her to adapt to the new category and ace it also in a shorter period.