ESPN staff 292d

Mary Kom, Sarita Devi included in Asian Championships squad


M C Mary Kom and L Sarita Devi returned to the Indian team for the Asian Women's Boxing Championship, which will be held in Vietnam next month. The marquee continental event is scheduled to be held from November 2 to 11 in Ho Chi Minh City.

Mary, a five-time world champion who had jumped a division to 51kg in 2010 after it was included in the Asian and Olympic Games roster, will be making her sixth Asian Championships appearance.

Mary fought six bouts during the selection trials, winning all her bouts despite facing younger rivals including World Championships silver-medallist Sarjubala.

The London Olympics bronze-medallist had announced her decision to shuffle between 48kg and 51kg categories at the end of last year. The 34-year-old has five medals to her credit at the regional meet, four of them gold. However, she would be competing in the 48kg weight category for the first time at this tournament, a weight category that fetched her two World Championship medals -- a gold and a silver.

Sarita, 35, has five Asian Championships medals against her name, four of them gold. Sarita had recently tried her luck in the professional circuit, winning her debut bout, but decided to return to the amateur fold after a few months and decided to jump a division from 60kg to 64kg.

Both Mary and Sarita had missed the previous edition in 2015, where India failed to secure a single gold, winning a silver and five bronze medals.

Haryana's Neeraj (51kg), who won a gold medal at the Nation's Cup in Serbia earlier this year, will be making her debut at the continental championships. World Championships silver-medallist Sonia Lather (57kg) also made the squad along with Asian Championships silver-medallist Saweety Boora (81g), who would be aiming to go one better this time.

Pooja Rani (75kg) and Seema Punia (+81kg), both bronze medal winners in 2015, have also been selected after coming through the trials. Pooja is also an Asian Games bronze-medallist.

India are placed third in the overall medal standings of the Asian Championships. They have won 60 medals in all - 19 gold, 21 silver and 20 bronze.

India's Asian Championship squad:

M C Mary Kom (48kg), Neeraj (51kg), Shiksha (54kg), Sonia Lather (57kg), Pavitra (60kg), L Sarita Devi (64kg), Lovelina (69kg), Pooja Rani (75kg), Saweety Bora (81kg) and Seema Punia (+81kg).

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