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Manju deserved a gold: BFI president

Rich haul: Manju Rani, Mary Kom, BFI president Ajay Singh, DG SAI Sandip Pradhan, Lovlina Borgohain and Jamuna Boro at the felicitation event.

Rich haul: Manju Rani, Mary Kom, BFI president Ajay Singh, DG SAI Sandip Pradhan, Lovlina Borgohain and Jamuna Boro at the felicitation event.  

Ajay terms Worlds a ‘successful’ outing

The Indian women boxers equalled their best-ever performance at the World Championships recently with four medals — three bronze and one silver — but the Boxing Federation of India is already looking forward to the 2020 Olympics and, before that, the Olympic qualifiers in February.

There would be continental events with six spots in each weight category on offer. The Asian competition would be held in Wuhan, China. “Leading up to it, we will be participating in a test event in Tokyo, the SAF Games and a six-nation event at home as part of our preparations.

“The Worlds was a preparatory event and we are treating it as such. I would say it was a successful outing for us and some of our boxers deserved better. Manju deserved a gold and Mary also had done exceedingly well in the semifinals,” BFI president Ajay Singh told The Hindu on the sidelines of the felicitation event here on Tuesday.

Eight-time medallist Mary Kom, in fact, reiterated that the scoring and judgement was incorrect, and accused the international body of deliberately scoring against her. The Indian officials had lodged a protest after her semifinal loss but it was not accepted. “If they have to do it like this, they might as well hand out pre-decided medals without fighting,” she said.

Ajay assured that the federation was working on increasing the Indian presence in international boxing, not just in the ring but outside as well. “There are other issues as well, we also need representation at the international level — for example, more judges at major meets — and we are working to improve in all those aspects also. We are also working on the mental aspect because that is where India has traditionally been lacking. But our boxers have become a lot more confident, which is good for their psyche,” he said.

Best policy

Mary Kom’s inclusion in the squad without selection trials had led to Nikhat Zareen crying foul, but Ajay indicated that things might not change for the Olympic qualifiers either.

“The federation policy is to send the boxer with the best chance to win a medal. We took a call to send Mary and she has proven us right, in a new weight category — in our view, she did not really lose.

“If there is a clear No. 1 in a category, he or she will go and that’s what we will continue to do. Trials will be held when required,” said Ajay.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 12:58:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/manju-deserved-a-gold-bfi-president/article29693575.ece

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