New Delhi: After clinching an unprecedented five world titles, M C Mary Kom will make a bid for a berth in the Olympics as she spearheads the country`s 10-strong challenge at the World Championships in Qinhuangdao, China -- women boxing`s first and only qualifying event before its historic debut at the London Games.
After a two-day trial at the National Institute of Sports in Patiala, the Indian women`s team for the mega-event from May 9 to 20 was announced today, with the country fielding boxers in all the three weight categories in which women pugilists will make their Olympic debut (51kg, 60kg and 75kg).
In the 51kg, it is the ever-reliable Mary Kom, who has dominated the World Championships with five gold medals, and is on a high after clinching the Asian Championship title just a few days ago.
The 29-year-old mother of two from Manipur would be without doubt India`s best bet for getting an Olympic slot given her unmatched international feats due to which the International Boxing Association gave her the name -- Magnificent Mary.
The 60kg division features L Sarita Devi, another veteran who has two World Championship gold medals under her belt besides four Asian titles. The 75kg division has Pooja Rani, who had notched up a bronze medal at the recent Asian Championships.
"We have selected a strong team and hopefully we will get good results at the World Championships. All three Olympic categories have very strong contenders in our team who have been good international performers. They were selected after elaborate trials and I am sure they will deliver," said Indian Boxing Federation Secretary General P K Muralidharan Raja.
Apart from the the three Olympic categories, the other seven divisions also have no major surprises, except for the return of former world champion Jenny RL (81kg). The Keralite had been banned for two years in 2007 after flunking a dope test. She had been on a comeback trail in the national circuit, winning a gold medal at the 2010 National Championships in Jamshedpur.
"What she did at that time was a stupid mistake but she is back and did extremely well at the trials. She had tested positive for a diuretic (basically a masking agent). It doesn`t really help performance. If you want to lose weight you can do that half an hour of running," said Raja.
The Team: Pinki Jangra (48kg), M C Mary Kom (51kg), Sonia Lather (54kg), L Sarita Devi (60kg), Meena Rani (64kg), Neetu Chahal (69kg), Jenny R L (81kg), Kavita Chahal (+81kg).