The Two-time World Champion will spearhead a 13-member (7 men and 6 women) Indian challenge at the Asian Games to be held in Hangzhou, China, from September 23 to October 8.
Jakarta Asian Games and Commonwealth Games champion Amit Panghal, World Championship bronze medalist Mohammad Hussamuddin, Olympian Vikas Krishan and the reigning world CWG champion in the women’s 48kg Nitu Ghanghas, and Saweety Boora, do not figure in the team
Nikhat (51kg) and Lovlina Borgohain (75kg) had booked their berths for the Games after making the finals of their respective categories at the Women’s World Boxing Championships held in New Delhi earlier this year.
The others were selected after assessment by the new High Performance Director Bernard Dunne and other members of the coaching team, including chief foreign coach Dmitry Dmitruk, during a national camp in Patiala last month.
The new selection process has been worked out by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI), which favours internal assessment in place of traditional selection trials, concluded on July 1.
Amit Panghal, who was the country’s only gold medallist in Jakarta, was a part of the camp but it was Deepak Bhoria who got the nod for the men’s 51kg berth over Panghal. Deepak won a bronze medal in the 51kg category at the World Boxing Championships in Tashkent. Bhoria’s fellow worlds bronze medalist Nishant Dev was chosen in the 71kg.
Hussamuddin, was not considered as he is recovering from a knee injury that he suffered during the world championships quarter-finals. Sachin Siwach, moving up from the 54kg division, will fight in the 57kg event.
Six-time Asian medalist Shiva Thapa, warded off a stiff challenge from Abinash Jamwal and fellow world championship medallist Manish Kaushik to book the 63.5kg berth.
Olympian Vikas Krishan was ruled out after undergoing surgery for a bicep injury. Lakshay Chahar, coming back after recovering from an injury, was preferred over Ashish Kumar for the 80kg berth.
Another big miss from the team is Nitu Ghanghas. The 22-year-old recently became the world champion in the women’s 48kg in New Delhi but since her category is no longer an Olympic weight division, she was forced to move up to the 54kg.
Nitu Ghanghas made the cut for the national camp in the 54kg category after fighting her way through selection trials but the final spot went to Preeti Pawar. Saweety Boora, who became the women’s 81-kg world champion also missed out.
Former Asian champion Sanjeet, worlds medalist Parveen Hooda and former world youth champion Arundhati Choudhary made the final squad.
Men: Deepak Bhoria (51kg), Sachin Siwach (57kg), Shiva Thapa (63.5kg), Nishant Dev (71kg), Lakshya Chahar (80kg), Sanjeet (92kg), Narender Berwal (+92kg)
Women: Nikhat Zareen (51kg), Preeti Pawar (54kg), Parveen Hooda (57kg), Jaismine Lamboria (60kg), Arundhati Choudhary (66kg), Lovlina Borgohain (75kg)