BENGALURU: One look at the most of the weight categories in India women’s boxing, generally, someone is deemed favourite, who should represent the country in the World Championships, which is scheduled in October in Russia. Consider the case of L Sarita Devi (60 kg) and MC Mary Kom (51kg), who should make it for the mega event.
However, it is a completely different scenario when it comes to 57 kg category. It is one of the most overcrowded and competitive division. Sonia Chahal, Sonia Lather, Manisha Moun and Neeraj Phogat have it in them to make the cut for the worlds after having proved themselves. Chahal won silver at the 2018 AIBA World Championships. Lather clinched silver in the 2016 Worlds and 2017 Asian Championships.
The other two — Moun and Phogat — are relatively new in this category. In fact, Moun shifted from 54 to 57 kg category while Phogat dropped from 60. India women’s coach Ali Qamar feels it is the Olympics dream, which has led boxers to shift weight categories. Besides 57, other categories in Tokyo Olympics include 51, 60, 69 and 75 in the women’s field. “With Olympics being a major target for a boxer, some have shifted their weight categories accordingly as well,” Ali told this daily.
It is not easy for any boxer to shift weight divisions, but Phogat, who has done well in both the 51 and 60 kg in the past, has taken to this new division like duck to water. In her maiden 57 kg appearance, Phogat stood tall during the India Open, defeating the likes of Chahal in the semifinals 5-0 and clinching the title defeating Moun 5-0.
The boxer recently attended an eight-day training camp in South Korea. It must have helped her in the preparations for trials, scheduled early August. “I know the competition in 57 kg, it is not an easy one. I only want to ensure that I shine during the trials and book my place for the Worlds as of now. Irrespective of who it is, I just want to beat them,” said Phogat.