Following complaints from at least three boxers about their non-inclusion in the Indian squad for the upcoming World women’s boxing championships, the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) is keen to resolve the issue even while insisting that the selection has been done as per the new evaluation policy.
National champions Manju Rani (48kg), also a former World championships silver medallist, Shiksha Narwal (54kg) and Poonam Poonia (60kg) — who scored 564, 573 and 567 points to come second behind Nitu Ghanghas (634), Preeti (623) and Jaismine Lamboria (612) respectively — have written to the BFI with a request to include their names in the squad. They are also contemplating legal options if their grievances are not addressed.
BFI secretary Hemanta Kalita said the boxers knew about the evaluation policy, prepared following consultations with high performance director (HPD) Bernard Dunne, beforehand.
“All the boxers knew about the policy. It’s on our website. The chief coach (Bhaskar Bhatt) explained the policy to the boxers in Hindi. The selection was fair and there was no scope for favouritism,” said Kalita, who was part of the committee that reviewed all evaluations.
Earlier, selection was done either through trials or by picking the National champions.
Now, a High Performance Unit (HPU), comprising the HPD, the head coaches of men and women’s teams and support staff, carried out the selection through a three-week evaluation process, which had the objective of selecting the athletes who are seen as ‘genuine medal hopes.’ Nine of the 12 National champions made the cut.
In the first week, athletes were tested for performance in training (including endurance, strength and conditioning). In the next two weeks, they were tested for technical and tactical skills, involving several aspects, during sparring as well as the above-mentioned parameters.
Scores given by the HPD and two head coaches were added to find the best athlete in each weight category.
“This is a contact sport and every boxer feels she has done well. This list may change in future and these boxers, who missed out this time, may get picked. We are addressing the issue,” said Kalita.