Indian boxing legend MC Mary Kom, who became the first pugilist to win eight medals at the AIBA World Championships, will head to the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (Asia/Oceania) scheduled to be held in Wuhan, China in February 2020.
This comes after the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) tweaked its selection policy for women pugilists.
As per the earlier policy, making the final at the recently concluded 2019 AIBA Women’s World Championship was considered to be the criteria to gain an automatic place in the Indian team for the Olympic qualifiers. However, the recent tweak means every medal winner from Ulan-Ude will be included in the team while others will have to go through the national trials later in the year.
The BFI, however, had maintained a different policy for men where every medal winner was to be handed a place in the Indian team for the Olympic qualifiers. But the course correction now means every Indian boxer - male or female - will adhere to a similar selection process to make the Indian team.
“The men and women will have the same selection criteria. I will make it official soon,” said BFI president Ajay Singh while speaking to The Tribune on Tuesday.
What’s the reason?
The president clarified that the tweak was brought about because, had the AIBA not been suspended, a medal at the World Championships would have guaranteed the boxer a place at the 2020 Olympics.
“I am clear in my mind but I will have to meet with my BFI colleagues about this issue. But my personal opinion is that whoever has won a medal at the World Championships should automatically take part in the qualifiers,” Singh was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, Mary Kom was happy to be at the receiving end of a favourable decision. “I am very happy and I am thankful that he (the president) took this decision. It also reflects that he has belief in my abilities,” she said in an interaction with The Tribune.
The Wuhan event will be the first opportunity for the Indian boxers to seal their place at Tokyo 2020. If they fail to do so, the World Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Paris will be their only other chance to do so.