The sudden and woeful surge of the second wave of COVID-19 in India has pushed the Asian Boxing Confederation (ASBC) to move the upcoming Asian Boxing Championships next month from the national capital to Dubai.
The tournament which had already faced a postponement due to the pandemic earlier, was scheduled to be held from 21st to 31st May at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium in New Delhi, which is clocking an alarming more than 20,000 positive cases every day.
The official announcement of the shift of the venue was made by ASBC on Tuesday and the decision to relocate the tournament was taken by ASBC along with Boxing Federation of India (BFI).
The tournament has now been shifted to Dubai and will be jointly conducted by BFI and the UAE Boxing Association and while the starting date remains the same, the new schedule has been extended to 1st of June.
“It’s unfortunate that we have to shift the venue out of India…but we are left with no options,” Ajay Singh, the president of the BFI said in a media release, “boxers’ safety is most important. We are grateful to UAE for agreeing to co-host it on such a short notice.”
However, with the potential suspension of all international flights to and from India, there are speculations that the Indian boxing contingent might be flown to the UAE a couple of weeks early to comply with the protocols there.
While BFI secretary Himanta Kalita did not hint at any early flight to Dubai, he did insist that the country’s pugilists will definitely be taking part in the event and the governing body will act as necessary.
“As of now there is no such plan. But it is 100 percent confirmed that the Indian team will participate in the event. We will follow all necessary safety protocols,” said Kalita.
A total of 10 women boxers from the country will be seen in the championship, selected through the selection trials hosted by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) back in early April in New Delhi in non-Olympic weight categories. On the other hand, the Tokyo-bound pugilists were granted automatic qualification.
The Indian contingent will see Mary Kom taking part in the championship alongside fellow Olympic-bound boxers such as Simranjit Kaur (60 kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69 kg) and Pooja Rani (75 kg).
Along with the above, the others who have made the cut are Sakshi Chaudhary (54kg) and Monica (48kg) will team up with Jasmine (57 kg), Pwilao Basumatary (64kg), Sweety Bora (81 kg), and Anupama (plus 81kg).
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