Last chance for Olympic qualification: Mary Kom among Indian boxers vying at World Boxing Championship
Five-time champion Indian star M C Mary Kom (51kg) will take on Sweden's Juliana Soderstrom in her opening bout of a highly competitive World Women's Boxing Championship where only three of her compatriots were given seedings in Astana on Wednesday.
Astana, Kazakhstan: Five-time champion Indian star M C Mary Kom (51kg) will take on Sweden's Juliana Soderstrom in her opening bout of a highly competitive World Women's Boxing Championship where only three of her compatriots were given seedings in Astana on Wednesday.
The event -- the final qualifying tournament for women boxers in the three Olympic categories of 51kg, 60kg, and 75kg -- has 12 Rio tickets on offer which means pugilists will have to at least make the semifinals of the three chosen divisions to book their berth.
The other Indians, who would be eyeing Olympic slots apart from Mary Kom are L Sarita Devi (60kg) and Pooja Rani (75kg).
The Olympic category draws are expectedly the most crowded featuring 49 and 47 boxers in the 51kg and 60kg divisions respectively, while the 75kg category has 34 in fray.
Mary Kom, a London Olympics bronze-medallist and Asian Games gold-medallist who is eyeing a record sixth gold in the event, will be in action tomorrow along with and Asiad bronze-winner Sarita.
Sarita will be up against Belarus' Ala Yarshevich and if she wins the contest, the Manipuri will square off against Mexico's Victoria Torres.
Pooja, on the other hand, got a first-round bye and will be squaring off against Ukraine's Mariya Borusta on May 20.
In the non-Olympic categories, previous edition's silver-medallist Sarjubala Shamjetsabam (48kg) has been seeded second and will face the winner of the bout between Hungary's Virginia Barankai and Sri Lanka's Erand Kaluhath in the second round after getting a bye in the opening round.
In the 54kg division, former junior world champion Nikhat Zareen will be fighting it out against Australia's Bianca El-Mir in her opening contest on May 20.
Pavitra (64kg) has also been seeded second and she will face the winner of the bout between Australian Skye Nicolson and Croat Antonija Pavic.
The third Indian to be seeded was Saweety (81kg), who has been given the second rank and will face Belarus' Victoriya Kebikava.
Sonia Lather (57kg) has to contend with Mongolia's Gundegmaa Myagmar, while Meena Rani (69kg) will be up against Germany's Nadine Apetz.
In the +81kg category, Seema Poonia will square off against Azerbaijan's Aynur Rzayeva on May 23.
An unprecedented nine Indian boxers would be vying for medals at the showpiece, where none could secure a podium finish in the 2016 edition.
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