The 2016 AIBA World Championship will not just be about snapping up Olympic spots – for many it will be much more than. India have fond memories of the 2014 AIBA World Championship held in Jeju City, Korea, where they bagged two silver medals via Sarjubala Devi (48 kg) and Saweety Bora (81kg).
A lot will be expected from the Indian women boxers as they sweat it out at the ongoing national camp for the upcoming 2016 AIBA World Championship to be held in Astana, Kazakhstan from May 19-27. Indian women pugilists will be looking to leave a big impression in the nine-day showpiece event where they are expected to not just focus on attaining a podium finish but sealing Olympic berths for three available weight categories.
Iconic MC Mary Kom will, of course, be the focus of all attention as she will make a bid to qualify for the Olympics which is set to be her boxing swansong. L Sarita Devi and Pooja Rani will have to bring their best to the ring if they are harbouring hopes of taking the ring in Rio.
Both Sarjubala and Saweety are talented youngsters and it will not be much of a surprise if they churn out an encore of 2014.
Indian women boxers have always done well at the AIBA World Championship – barring the 2010 edition, where they won only one medal, the country’s boxers have always made a mark. “All our boxers are working hard – let’s hope for the best,” says Indian women boxing coach Anoop Kumar.
The Indian women boxing coach believes past performances count for nothing. “Our boxers have done well in the last World Championships but we have to understand one thing – competition is fiercer than ever as every country is working hard to corner glory in the ring,” he says.
Anoop is bullish about India improving on their haul of two silver medals at the last edition. “Our girls have the potential to surprise any opponent but we hope to come home with a rich haul of medals,” he signs off.
Of course, there are reasons to be optimistic – after all, the boxing contingent has the likes of Mary Kom, Sarita, Sarjubala and Saweety to turn it on at Astana.