With less than a month to go for the Asia boxing qualifiers for the 2020 Olympics, preparations are underway in full swing.
Mary Kom, ranked fifth in the 51kg category, won her BFI trials bout against Nikhat Zareen to make the cut for the Asian qualifiers, while relative newcomer Sakshi Chaudhary defeated Sonia Lather in the 57kg category.
“I’m good but I want to do better”
With an Olympic bronze medal and an unprecedented eight World Amateur Boxing Championships under her belt, Mary Kom is easily India’s most accomplished women’s boxer.
Kom clinched a historic bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics in London but in the following edition of the Games in Rio, she was unable to qualify.
Now, with a desire to not only leave the Rio disappointment behind but also to move further up the podium has seen her going full bore in her Tokyo 2020 preparation.
Speaking to the Boxing Federation of India, the 36-year-old summed up how she’s leaving no stone unturned for the boxing qualifiers.
“My preparation is going very well. I'm working more on my weaknesses — endurance, speed and of course, there are many other skills that I (still) have to improve,” she said.
She summed up her attitude succinctly, “Yes, I'm good but I want to do better!”
Sakshi Chaudhary improving through personal attention
Meanwhile, at the other end of the experience spectrum is Sakshi Chaudhary.
After making the cut for the boxing qualifiers, the emerging boxer from New Delhi is now part of a smaller group and having her preparedness passed through a fine-tooth comb to make it to the 2020 Olympics come July.
“Our training is going very well,” she told the BFI. “Earlier, 50 of us used to train as a group, now there are just five of us. All five of us are trained separately.”
This approach has helped focus individual attention to a much greater degree, as Sakshi Chaudhary explained.
“Each coach points out our mistakes. The improvements we make in tiny areas add up to help improve our overall form,” she pointed out. “And now we're in top form and giving our best in an effort to qualify for the Olympics.”
What lies ahead for Indian boxers at the Olympic boxing qualifiers
The Asia/Oceanic boxing qualifiers, which were originally scheduled to be held in Wuhan, China, will be held in Amman, Jordan from March 3-11 following the coronavirus outbreak.
Those who fail to qualify at the Asia/Oceanic boxing qualifiers will get another chance to punch their 2020 Olympics ticket at the World boxing qualifiers in Paris from May 13-20.
Stay with Olympic Channel for all the boxing updates in the build-up to Tokyo 2020, and make sure you bookmark this page for all the latest from the boxing qualifiers.