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Indian boxers get tough draws in women's World C'ships

Source: PTI
May 18, 2016 15:36 IST
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Mary Kom, L Sarita Devi and Pooja Rani eye Olympic berths.

12 Rio tickets on offer in final qualifying tournament for women boxers in the 51kg, 60kg and 75kg Olympic categories.

IMAGE: M C Mary Kom trains at the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune. Photograph: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters.

Five-time champion M C Mary Kom (51kg) will take on Sweden's Juliana Soderstrom in her opening bout at the World Women's Boxing Championship, where only three of her compatriots are seeded.

The event, in Astana, Kazakhstan, is the final qualifying tournament for women boxers in the 51kg, 60kg and 75kg Olympic categories and has 12 Rio tickets on offer. Which means pugilists will have to at least make the semi-finals in the three chosen divisions to book a berth.

The other Indians eyeing Olympic slots apart from Mary Kom are L Sarita Devi (60kg) and Pooja Rani (75kg).

The Olympic category draw features 49 and 47 boxers in the 51kg and 60kg divisions respectively, while the 75kg category has 34 in the fray.

Mary Kom, the London Olympics bronze medallist and Asian Games gold medallist who is eyeing a record sixth gold in the event, will be in action on Thursday along with and Asiad bronze medallist Sarita.

Sarita is up against Belarus's Ala Yarshevich. If she wins the contest, the Manipuri will square off against Mexico's Victoria Torres.

Pooja, on the other hand, received a first-round bye and will square off against Ukraine's Mariya Borusta on May 20.

In the non-Olympic categories, previous edition's silver medallist Sarjubala Shamjetsabam (48kg) has been seeded second and will face the winner of the bout between Hungary's Virginia Barankai and Sri Lanka's Erand Kaluhath in the second round after receiving a bye in the opening round.

In the 54kg division, former junior World champion Nikhat Zareen will take on Australia's Bianca El-Mir in her opening round on May 20.

Pavitra (64kg), also seeded second, will face the winner of the bout between Australian Skye Nicolson and Croat Antonija Pavic.

The third Indian to be seeded is Saweety (81kg). The second seed will face Belarus's Victoriya Kebikava.

Sonia Lather (57kg) has to contend with Mongolia's Gundegmaa Myagmar, while Meena Rani (69kg) is up against Germany's Nadine Apetz.

In the 81kg-plus category, Seema Poonia will square off against Azerbaijan's Aynur Rzayeva on May 23.

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