The Indian pugilists were handed a mixed draw in the 12th edition of the IBA women’s world boxing championships to be held in Istanbul from May 8 to 20.
More than 400 boxers from a record 93 countries are set to take part in this year’s event, which also marks the 20th anniversary of the prestigious event.
Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain (70kg) will kickstart India’s campaign on May 9 but she got a tough draw as she will be up against the former world champion Chen Nien-Chin.
The Chinese Taipei boxer, who won gold and bronze medals respectively in 2018 and 2016 at the world championships, is the same opponent Lovlina beat in the quarterfinals of the 2020 Olympic Games.
Two-time Asian Champion Pooja Rani (81kg), Nandini and Nikhat Zareen have also been handed tough draws in their respective categories.
While Pooja will start in the round of 16 against two-time World Championships bronze medallist Hungary boxer Timea Nagy, Nandini (+81kg) has received bye in the opening round but will face last edition’s bronze medallist Khadija El-Mardi of Morocco in the quarterfinals.
On the other hand, Nikhat (52kg) will face Mexico’s Herrera Alvarez in the opening round and if she wins, she is likely to meet 2021 Asian championships bronze medallist Mongolia’s Lutsaikhan Altantsetseg in the next round of 16.
Jaismine (60kg) will lock horns against two-time youth Asian champion Porntip Buapa of Thailand in the opening round. If the Indian gets past the first hurdle, she may clash against former world championships bronze medallist Rashida Ellis of USA in the quarterfinals.
Among other Indians, Ankushita (66kg) got a comparatively easy draw alongside Nitu (48kg), Anamika (50kg), Shiksha (54kg), Manisha (57kg), Parveen (63kg) and Saweety (75kg). Ankushita will begin her challenge in the round of 16 after getting bye in the opening round.
The Indians have garnered 36 medals, including nine gold, eight silver and 19 bronze, so far in the 11 editions of the prestigious event. India’s tally is the third highest after Russia (60) and China (50).
In the last edition of the IBA women’s world boxing championships held in Russia in 2019, the Indian boxers clinched one silver and three bronze medals.
Indian squad: Nitu (48kg), Anamika (50kg), Nikhat Zareen (52kg), Shiksha (54kg), Manisha (57kg), Jaismine (60kg), Parveen (63kg), Ankushita (66kg), Lovlina Borgohain (70kg), Saweety (75kg), Pooja Rani (81kg), Nandini (+81kg).