First national-level boxing meet since Covid outbreak from July 18

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Express News Service

CHENNAI: The last time India hosted competitive boxing of any note was in December 2019: the elite women’s national championships. The Covid-19 pandemic has proven to be a stumbling block for the Boxing Federation of India (BFI), the governing body of the sport in the country, ever since. However, it looks like the dry spell will be over soon. The BFI is looking to conduct youth and junior national championships, starting next week. 

The events, subject to government approval, will act as selection trials for the upcoming ASBC Youth & Junior Championships scheduled to be held from August 17 in Dubai, UAE.

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Promising talents like Geetika Narwal (48kg) and Alfiya Pathan (+81kg), gold winners during the 2021 AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships, are expected to be part of the youth nationals, which is scheduled to be held from July 18-23 at Delhi Public School, Sonepat (Haryana). The junior event is expected to be held from July 26-31 at the same venue. The draw for both the events will be held a day before it commences. The winners in each weight category will be picked for the continental event.

“The main reason (behind conducting the events) is to select the team for the Asian Championships. And to have this as nationals is even better as there’s so much uncertainty in regards to the Covid-19 situation. The Covid situation has been improving and we have already made a formal request to the Haryana government. If they permit, BFI is ready to host. The event should go ahead as per plan,” Hemanta Kumar Kalita, BFI secretary-general, told The New Indian Express.

“We’ll also be able to rank them (boxers) and pick teams for the future international tournaments. The Sports Authority of India is also due to conduct trials (for NCOE). Their performance and ranking will come in handy then.” he added.

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Bearing in mind the International Boxing Association’s (AIBA) change in weight categories for elite and youth pugilists, which will come into force from August 1, the aforementioned youth event will witness 12 weight categories in women and 13 weight categories in men. The junior meet will see 13 weight categories (men and women) each.

Ever since the Covid-19 outbreak last year, the BFI’s attempts to host events have hit a roadblock. The Asian Boxing Championship, which India was originally supposed to host, was postponed last year and then shifted to UAE earlier this year.
 

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