Mary Kom to lead Indian challenge in ACWBC

New Delhi: Five-time world champion M C Mary Kom will spearhead a 10-member strong Indian challenge in the Asian Confederation Women`s Boxing Championship in Ulan Bator (Mongolia) from March 16 to 26.

The tournament will serve as a preparatory event for the women pugilists participating in the first and only Olympic Qualifying tournament – the AIBA World Championships – to be held from May 9-20 in Qinhuangdao, China.

The Asian Championships have always been a happy hunting ground for the Indian women pugilists. The sport made its continental debut with the first Asian Women`s Boxing Championships in 2001. Ever since the inaugural edition in Bangkok, Indian women have consistently excelled at the event.

Veteran boxers L Sarita Devi and Mary Kom have accomplished insurmountable feats at this level of the game.

Sarita has been successful at winning a medal at all the editions of the tournament.
She won silver in Bangkok in the featherweight division and followed it up with four consecutive gold medals twice each in bantam and flyweight division.

Reigning world champion Mary, on the other hand, missed out on a medal in 2001, but has bagged three gold medals and one silver medal since.

The Asian Games bronze medallist is currently honing her skills at the Balewadi sports complex in Pune, with revered English coach Charles Atkinson.

For Mary, who would be spearheading the Indian attack at the Asian Championships, the competition will be instrumental in her preparation for the World Championships and the Olympics. Still new to the 51kg weight category, the 28-year-old expects to get good exposure out of this tournament.

"The Asian Championships will be a big test for me. It will be my first major tournament in the 51 kg weight after the Asian Games in 2010," she said.

"Lot of good women boxers in world come from Asia, so this event will provide me a good opportunity to access my game before the big events — the World Championships and the Olympics," she added.

The complete squad: Pinky Jangra (48kg), MC Mary Kom (51kg), Sonia Lather (54kg), K Mandakini Chanu (57kg), L Sarita Devi (60kg), Meena Rani (64kg), Monica Saun (69kg), Pooja Rani (75kg), Bhagyabati Kachari (81kg), Kavita Chahal (+81kg).