Indian boxers deal with a weighty issue ahead of CWG

Jan 31:With the Commonwealth and Asian Games approaching fast, the ongoing India Open invitational is proving to be a testing ground for Indian boxers looking to punch above their weight. Sarjubala Devi, who won the world youth championship gold and world championship silver in light flyweight (48kg), is contesting her first international meet in the category above.
"I won the Nationals earlier this month at 51kg. But here I'm facing boxers from other countries so you can't take it easy," said Sarjubala, who assured India of a medal by outclassing Kenya's Christine Ongare on Monday.
"At 51 kg, one difference I can see is that I'll be facing boxers taller than me. There's also the difference of power. But even I'm trying to get my power up with the weight, so it shouldn't be that much of a problem."
While the 24-year-old from Manipur admits it will make cutting weight easier, coach Raffaele Bergamasco hinted at a more compelling reason behind the switch: freeing up 48kg for Mary Kom.
"Sarjubala is very strong. But in this moment I have Mary Kom (in the 48kg category), so I approved the switch. That way you have two strong prospects in both categories," said the Italian, who guided India to seven medals at November's youth world championship before being appointed the performance director for the senior team. "Sarjubala is a little short for 51kg, but is young and quick. So if there comes a time when we have to ask Mary to rest for a tournament, or the time when she is not around, Sarjubala can come down again. She is that good in either category."
Despite an Olympic bronze and a bronze and gold at the Asian Games in the 51kg category, Mary has admittedly struggled with putting on the extra three kilos. A return to her natural weight category fetched the 35-year-old her fifth Asian Championships gold in November.
While the two wins this week at the Thyagaraj Stadium have been decidedly unremarkable, the signs are good for this year's Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, which will feature the 48kg category. There are, however, no plans yet for debuting the division at the Asian Games in August or the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, even though Bergamasco remains hopeful.
"There are very strong proposals for that. I'm very confident that they will expand the categories from three to five," he said.
For seasoned Shiva Thapa and Manoj Kumar, a jump in weight classes at the national championship in December 2016 has been fruitful so far. Agencies
Source: Agencies



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