The AIBA Women’s World Championships are just a week away and India will be hoping that they can shine at home. The 11th edition of the Championships will be held at the IG Indoor Stadium, New Delhi. A 10-member team will represent India at the tournament. Ace boxer Mary Kom will be spearhead the team which is a mix of youth and experience.
MC Mary Kom (48Kg)
The Manipur boxer is one of India’s most celebrated. A five-time world champion and the only Indian woman to win an Olympics medal, Mary will be looking for her sixth title. She is lone woman boxer from the country to win a gold medal at the Asian Games.
Now a mother of three, Mary has fought her way to the top since childhood. She fought opposition from parents and neighbours and dropped out of school before attaining success for India.
She is also the first amateur Indian athlete to win the Padma Bhushan and was also inducted into AIBA Hall of Fame for her contributions.
Pinky Rani (51kg)
Mary Kom has inspired many boxers in India and Pinky is one of them. Born in Hisar, Haryana, Pinki began boxing in 2006, guided by her two brothers. But it was still a difficult past her parents objected fearing her safety.
But she is now an established boxer in India and has brought many laurels for the country. After finishing second to Mary at the Agra National Championships, the 28-year old went on to win medals in 2011, 2012, 2014.
Manisha Moun (54kg)
Just six years into boxing, Manisha has been one of the most promising boxers in India. Guided by passion and determination, the young Haryana girl progressed through the ranks quickly since making her debut.
Despite strong opposition from her father, Manisha practiced boxing in hiding along with her brother who played volleyball. She walked 10 kilometres every day to reach the stadium and box. It was only in 2013 when her father unearthed the truth after she won the silver medal at State Boxing Championship.
An ardent fan of Ukrainian boxer Vasyl Lomachenko, Manisha credits the sudden surge in her confidence to the two international medals she won recently. These performances also ensured her a berth in the World Championship.
Hailing from the boxing-rich land of Haryana, Sonia’s tryst with boxing is a tale of how inspiration transcends generations. The young girl was encapsulated by the charismatic Haryana boxer Kavita Chahal, the first female pugilist to receive the Arjuna award from the state.
In 2011 when Kavita won bronze in the Asian Cup Boxing tournament in China, Sonia nurtured a secret passion for the sport. Supported by her parents, her dreams finally took flight when she joined the Bhiwani Boxing Academy. She stayed and practised there for five years until 2016, coming up the ranks as coaches started taking notice of her.
Brimming with confidence and a special focus on increasing her core strength, Sonia is geared up for the World Championship when India hosts the AIBA Women’s World Championship in November.
Sarita Devi (60kg)
Sarita Devi is another boxer with vast international experience. Hailing from Manipur, Sarita has to her credit five Asian titles besides being a World Champion. She was also awarded the Arjuna Award for her achievements. She made headlines following her 2014 Asian Games controversial final loss, her biggest controversy in a career spanned over a decade and a half.
Sarita has the rare distinction of winning five medals, including four gold and silver in five different weight categories at the Asian championships.
Simranjit Kaur (64kg)
After her brother and sister, Simranjit also took up boxing and her liking for the sport grew once her mother also pushed her. In 2013, she began in 48kg category and fought in the light weight category before shifting to the higher weight category.
She won a bronze medal at the Youth World Championship in 2013, representing India in the 60Kg category. While she was among the best at the Youth Worlds, success in domestic tournaments also started to boost her confidence. She was adjudged the best boxer in the 2016 National Championship in Haridwar.
She will now be a medal hope for India in New Delhi.
Lovlina Borgohain (69kg)
Lovlina has had a stellar year despite not finishing with a medal at Commonwealth Games. But the 20-year-old had some brilliant performances in recent months — gold at India Open, bronze at Asian Championships in Vietnam and bronze at President’s Cup in Astana.
Following the footsteps of her twin sisters Licha and Lima, the Assam girl first took up kickboxing. It was only when she met her first coach Padum Boro, her life took definite turn.
Boro noticed her exceptional talent in 2012 during a school competition and since then coached her. She will now hope for a medal at Worlds.
Saweety Boora (75kg)
Born in Hisar, Saweety was a state level kabaddi player before she switched to boxing on the advice of her father who wanted her to excel in an individual sport. She made the transition in 2009 when she was 15.
Daughter of a small-time farmer Mahender Singh, Saweety initially had to overcome a lot of obstacles. Apart from lacking in basic infrastructure – she trained at ploughed fields – she was asked to shift out of Haryana if she wanted to pursue a career in boxing.
The 25-year-old took part in her first nationals, the 4th Junior Women National Boxing Championship held at Monual Haq Stadium in 2009 and struck gold. Her biggest achievement is a silver medal she won at the 2014 World Championship.
Bhagyabati Kachari (81kg)
A sports-lover since childhood, Bhagyabati’s encounter with boxing was predestined. After trying her hands at various sports, Kachari took up boxing on the advice of her teacher.
In 2009, Bhagyabati joined Sports Authority of India centre in Kokrajhar and since then she has seen a steady rise. Three months since her joining, the pugilist won the bronze medal in Youth Nationals in Mizoram.
Though she lacks international achievements, the upcoming Worlds might well be the beginning.
Seema Poonia (+81k)
Coming through the ranks in SAI, Hisar, Seema made her international debut in 2015 and won a bronze medal in the 2015 ASBC Women’s Boxing Tournament. She then claimed a gold in Serbia at the 5th Nations Cup. The 28-year-old registered her presence with a maiden National Boxing Championship gold in 2012.
A boxer of international repute who has found many a success, Seema is a name to watch out for. Blessed with core strength and strong muscle power, Seema can be a tricky customer inside the ring. With the special focus on developing her strength, Seema will be keen to make her mark when India hosts the Women World Championships next month.