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Commonwealth Games: Nikhat Zareen, Lovlina make the cut

Boxers Nikhat Zareen and Lovlina Borgohain will be a part of the four-member women’s team at the Commonwealth Games in July 

Boxers Jasmine Lamboria, Nitu, Nikhat Zareen and Lovlina Borgohain,  after qualifying.
Boxers Jasmine Lamboria, Nitu, Nikhat Zareen and Lovlina Borgohain,  after qualifying. (PTI)

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Reigning world champion Nikhat Zareen and Olympic bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain on Saturday sealed their spots in the Indian team for the 2022 Commonwealth Games with dominating wins in the selection trials in Delhi.

Nikhat (50kg), the two-time Strandja Memorial gold medallist, beat Haryana's Minakshi 7-0 and Lovlina (70kg) outclassed Pooja Rani by an identical margin. Nitu Ghanghas (48kg) and Jasmine Lamboria (60kg) also sealed their spots for the quadrennial event, which is set to be held in Birmingham from 28 July to 8 August.

Also read: How Nikhat Zareen is training to become India's boxing star

Six-time world champion MC Mary Kom missed out on a chance to fight in what would have been her last CWG. The veteran boxer was forced to withdraw after suffering a knee injury midway into her bout on Friday.

The 39-year-old will thus be unable to defend her light flyweight title. The Manipuri had created history at Gold Coast in 2018 by becoming the first Indian female boxer to win a gold medal at the event.

Also read: Lovlina assures India of first boxing medal at Tokyo Olympics

At the Indira Gandhi Stadium, Nikhat looked in control throughout her bout, landing clear punches as she danced around the ring dodging her opponent. The Telangana boxer looked at ease in her new weight category. She had won the world championship gold in the 52kg weight division last month.

"It was very difficult for me to get back into my competitive zone because since the World Championships I hadn't trained. I went home and then there were a lot of programmes," Nikhat told reporters after the bout.

"I know the game that I have shown here at the trials is not even 50 percent of what I showed at the World Championships but still I managed to beat all my opponents by unanimous decision," she added.

Also read: How boxing turned into a lifeline for girls from Nairobi slums

Tokyo bronze medallist Lovlina, who is coming off an underwhelming World Championships campaign, put up a convincing performance to punch her way to the Birmingham event.

"I'm happy that I have won. I trained a lot after the world championships for this because I was well-prepared for the worlds. I have to give my hundred percent now," Lovlina, a two-time world championship bronze medallist, said. A two-time former youth world champion, Nitu eked out a 5-2 split decision win over 2019 silver medallist Manju Rani.

Also read: The boxing ring as a stage

The Haryana boxer is enjoying a good year. She had won the gold at the Strandja Memorial tournament earlier this year. Jasmine, the 2021 Asian youth boxing championship bronze medallist, out-punched 2022 world championship bronze medallist Parveen Hooda in a fast-paced, fiercely contested light-middleweight final.

India had finished second in the 2018 edition of the Games, returning with a haul of nine medals, with three golds, silvers and bronze each. The men's team for the quadrennial event has already been named.

Also read: India will take on Belgium in FIH Women's Hockey Pro League


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