Former World Cup bronze medal winner and Olympian V. Devarajan has been named as one of the selectors for the women's boxing trials that will be held on December 27 and December 28, the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) announced. The trials will help determine the boxer who will represent India in the Olympic qualifying event that will be held in Wuhan, China from January 31 to February 15.
There will be five categories in the women's trials, with boxers competing in the 51kg, 57kg, 60kg, 69kg and 75kg weight divisions. Boxers like Simranjit Kaur (60kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), Pooja Rani (75kg) will be in the fray to grab the lone spot that will send them to the Qualifiers. The most interesting category, will, however, be the 51kg division, where Mary Kom and Nikhat Zareen will get a chance to possibly fight it out with each other.
The duo have been involved in a controversy after the BFI was not in favour of hosting trials for the legendary Mary Kom, and wanted to send her to the Qualifiers directly. However, Zareen raised her voice against the unfair treatment, after which the trials for the 51kg weight category is finally being held. Mary Kom will face Ritu Grewal in the first round of the trials, while Zareen will face Jyoti. The two will face each other only after they win their respective first-round bouts.
Devarajan, on his part, won a bronze medal in the 1994 World Cup in Bangkok, to become the second Indian after Pu Zoramthanga to win a medal at the global level. He was also the first boxer from India to win a World Cup medal overseas. He was also the only boxer to win the gold medal in the Asian qualifying round for the Barcelona Olympics and was one of the five Indian pugilists who qualified for the event. Devarajan was touted as a possible gold medalist in the event, and the federation asked the media to broadcast his bout. However, he lost in the very first round.