Jeju, South Korea: Short on experience and missing the services of veterans such as M C Mary Kom, who would skip the World Championships for the first time, India's women boxers would nonetheless look to make a mark when they compete in the mega-event's eighth edition starting here Sunday.
While Mary is nursing some niggles picked up during her gold medal-winning campaign in the Asian Games in September, another veteran, L Sarita Devi, has been forced out due to a provisional suspension for her infamous meltdown on the Asiad podium.
The duo's combined experience would have come in handy for the 10-member team, which has been denied international exposure for the past two years owing to the administrative wrangling, which was recently resolved.
"We are going in short of experience because of the lack of international exposure in the past two years but nonetheless the girls are in high spirits and hopefully the medal count would be good," national coach Anoop Kumar told PTI.
The previous edition of the Championship had turned out to be quite a disaster for the Indian team as it returned with just one bronze medal -- through Kavita (+81kg). However, Kumar is hopeful of better results this time.
"We have not been able to travel outside for training and exposure but we have done our best to be fully prepared by training through the year in the national camp," he said.
Kavita is there in the team this time as well and would be aiming for a third consecutive medal at the big event after consecutive bronze medals.
Another boxer with some experience under her belt is Pavitra (64kg). The 2011 Asian Championships silver-medallist has been at the World Championships earlier as well, but could not fetch a medal.
However, the ones who hold out promise for future are Pinki Rani (51kg) and Sarjubala Devi (48kg). Both the youngsters are being seen as future stars and it would be a massive test for them.
While Sarjubala is a former world youth champion, Pinki
won a bronze medal at this year's Commonwealth Games. Both are expected to be among the medals and it would be interesting to see whether they can make up for the absence of experienced pros such as Mary and Sarita.
Altogether, 337 boxers from 74 nations are expected to compete in the tournament, making it the biggest ever in terms participation.
Ms. Sarjubala Devi (48kg), Pinki Rani (51kg), Meena Maisnam (54kg), Pwilao Basumatary (57kg), Priyanka Choudhary (60kg), Pavitra (64kg), Neetu (69kg), Monica Saun (75kg), Saweety (81kg), Kavita (+81kg).