Mary Kom, five-time World champion and London Olympic bronze medalist, starts her campaign in the flyweight (51 kg) category at the SAI Sports Complex in North Eastern Hill University (NEHU), Shillong.
The earlier winners like 2014 Incheon Asian Games bronze medalist Sarita Devi, World championship bronze medalists Vikash Krishan Yadav (75 kg, middleweight) and Shiva Thapa (56 kg, bantam), will be the other favorites in their respective categories.
When asked about India’s chances to win, G.S. Sandhu spoke diplomatically. “We cannot say for sure, as it depends on the form of the boxers on the day. Moreover, there are some good boxers from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka,” he said.
Speaking to the media, Mary Kom said, “I am extremely happy that SAG is being hosted in the northeast. We will try our best to win gold medals.”
Expressing that she has to regain full fitness, Mary Kom said, “After the delivery of a baby (her third son was born on May 13), it is not easy. I am not 100 per cent fit.”
Mary Kom said it would be tougher this time, to qualify for Rio Olympics. “There is the world qualification tournament, which happens to be the World championship in Astana, Kazakhstan from May 19 to 27, which is tough. The Asia-Oceania Olympic qualifying tournament in Qian’an, China (from March 23 to April 3), will be easy,” she said.
By Phani Ch