‘Didn’t I deserve to go to CWG?’ asks boxer Manisha Moun

NEW DELHI: Boxer Manisha Moun is both happy and sad at the same time. Happy because she has just returned home with her maiden medal at the World Championships – a bronze in the women’s 57k g category – from the Istanbul meet. Sad, as her entry in the 57kg category won’t be sent by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Reason: the BFI has chosen four weight categories in the women’s boxing to represent the country at the CWG. These weight divisions include 48kg, 50kg, 60kg and 70kg, the trials for which will be held from June 9-11. The federation based its decision on the medal-winning probabilities of the country’s women boxers in these categories. However, the 2019 Asian bronze medallist Manisha isn’t impressed with the BFI’s decision.

“When I won the medal at the Worlds, I just asked one question to myself ‘Didn’t I deserve to be part of the CWG contingent in the 57kg category? Didn’t I deserve this opportunity?’ Since my weight category is there, ideally the entry should have been sent,” Manisha told TOI on the sidelines of a felicitation function to honour all three Worlds medallists – gold winner Nikhat Zareen, bronze medallist Parveen Hooda and Manisha – at the IGI stadium here on Tuesday.

“For the last one year, I have been participating in the 57kg, which is an Olympic weight category. Earlier, I used to compete in the 54kg. Six months before the Worlds, I had injured my right shoulder but made a strong comeback at the trials. Maybe, the BFI based its decision thinking that there’s no good woman boxer available in the 57kg class. But after my performance at the Worlds, I have presented a strong case for my inclusion,” Manisha added.

BFI’s secretary general, Himanta K Kalita, told TOI: “On the basis of winnability of the boxers, the head coach and high performance director had recommended four weight categories among the available six for the CWG, which the federation considered and accepted. Manisha’s name is in the long list. But she will have to face trials in the 57-60kg category for the eventual selection. The trials will be held from June 9-11.”

It was a double celebration for Indian sports on Tuesday when sports minister, Anurag Singh Thakur, felicitated the country’s boxing and archery contingents. The archers have just returned from the World Cup in Korea. Thakur said: “Our betis have made us proud.

Nikhat said she doesn’t want to stop; she wants to win more medals. We need this passion and dedication from you all. We have to keep going forward. You are the inspiration for grassroots athletes. We must celebrate what we have achieved today but always aim for the next big Championships. Let’s bring more medals for India in the Olympics 2024.”

Nikhat, on her part, told the gathering, “I’ll keep working hard and make my country proud in the future also. I have become a world champion now and, by God’s grace, I hope I’ll stand in front of you as an Olympic champion as well. I am gunning for the gold at Paris 2024,” she added.