The Asian Boxing Championships 2021 has been moved from COVID-hit New Delhi to Dubai, the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) announced on Wednesday.
The continental event is scheduled for May 21 to June 1 and is expected to act as a dress rehearsal for the Asian boxers set to compete at the Tokyo Olympics in July-August.
The Asian meet was initially slated to be held at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex in New Delhi this year. But given the prevailing COVID-19 situation in the country and the ensuing travel restrictions, BFI was forced to move the event to UAE.
“It’s unfortunate that we have to shift the venue out of India. We were very keen to host the championships in Delhi but we are left with no options,” BFI president Ajay Singh said. “Boxers’ safety is the most important concern for us and hence we had to take this decision.”
Tokyo-bound Mary Kom (51kg), Simranjit Kaur (60kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) and Pooja Rani are among the 10 Indian women boxers set to participate in the event. The men’s team is yet to be announced.
Indian boxers won 13 medals at the 2019 edition of the competition in Bangkok finishing third in the medals tally with two gold, four silver and seven bronze.
Veteran Laishram Sarita Devi and Nikhat Zareen were the prominent names among the bronze medallists.
Since then, nine Indian boxers have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. The Asian championships will be a chance for them to prepare for the Games.