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Teams for Olympic qualifier should be picked based trials: Simranjit Kaur

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Tokyo Olympian boxer Simranjit Kaur is not known for holding back her punches in-and-out of the ring. On Wednesday she may have considered herself a bit unlucky to have lost to Jaismine Lamboria in the final (60kg) of Women’s National Boxing Championships here, but there were sufficient signs to show she was close to recapturing her form well in time for the Paris Olympics Qualifier in February.

Boxer Simranjit Kaur is Paris bound(Getty)
Boxer Simranjit Kaur is Paris bound(Getty)

The only thing she would have hoped to change is the selection process. For a year now, Indian boxing teams for major international competitions are being selected on the basis of an evaluation process in the national camps but the new system continues to be a talking point among boxers. The change was brought about by High Performance Director Bernard Dunne who has done away with the age-old practice of selection trials.

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“I think most boxers will favour trials to the current system of weekly assessment in camps,” said Simranjit Kaur, who lost to CWG medallist Jaismine in the evaluation for the Asian Games.

However, Jaismine could not seal a berth for the Paris Olympics and lost to Ungyong Won in the quarter-finals, receiving some heavy punishment from the Korean as she lost through RSC (referee stopping contest).

The opportunity to grab an Olympic quota will come again at the world qualifiers in February and the selection process is likely to give rise to a debate once again.

“I came second to Jaismine for the Asian Games assessment. I hope this time the selection is fair. It should not happen that you go to an Olympic qualifier and lose through knockout. You need to select your best boxers,” said Simranjit.

“I have seen both the selection processes and I feel selection trials are the best way to pick the team. You have judges coming from outside the camp and they are neutral and they see only the two boxers fighting in the ring. However, I am not saying that coaches in the camps are unfair. They watch us every day,” said Simranjit, the 2018 world championships medallist.

Simranjit and Jaismine put up an intense fight at the indoor stadium in Gautam Buddha University here. The bout was reviewed and Jaismine was adjudged the winner with a 4-3 margin.

Another weight class that will be in focus is the 66kg weight class where India hasn’t booked a Paris quota yet. Two-time youth world medallist Arundhati Choudhary beat Ankushita Boro 5-0. Unlike Simranjit, Choudhary, who was part of the Asian Games team but could not seal a quota, has no issues with the selection process.

“You have to prove yourself in any system. In the evaluation we are being judged on a lot of parameters from strength, speed, sparring, discipline etc. There were four sparring sessions before the Asian Games and after the first week we were told about our scores and also on the areas where we need to catch up. So, there is constant feedback from the high-performance team,” said Services boxer Arundhati.

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