Women boxers in final phase of World C`ship preparations

Patiala: Over 40 Indian women boxers, including five-time world champion M C Mary Kom, have started the final phase of their preparatory camp for the only Olympic qualifying event -- AIBA Women`s World Championship, that is slated to be held in the Chinese city of Qinhuangdao in May.

Women`s boxing is all set to make its Olympic debut this year at the London Games. For India, the sport is being touted as one of the best bets for another Olympic medal.

The road to London is not going to be easy with just eight quota places awarded to Asia. The AIBA Women`s World Championship in Qinhuangdao will act as the only qualifier for the London Olympiad for women`s boxing.

Top eight boxers in each weight category at the Championships will obtain a quota places within the confines of the number allocated to each continent.

The core group that consists of boxers in the three Olympic weight categories boasts of veteran players like Mary Kom (51kg), former world champions L Sarita Devi (60kg) and Jenny RL (75kg) along with a mix of upcoming pugilists like Arafura Games gold medallist Pinky Jangra (51kg), Asian Cup bronze medallist Neetu Chahal (60kg) and Arafura Games silver medallist Pooja Rani (75kg).

"With the change in the scoring system it is imperative for a boxer to be on the top of her offensive game and that is what we are concentrating on at the camp," said national coach Anoop Kumar.

The immediate focus at the camp is the Asian Confederation Women`s Boxing Championship that will be held in Mongolia from March 16 to 26.

The sixth edition of the Asian Championships will serve as a preparatory ground for the qualifying event.