Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain will have to make a major weight shift for the 2024 Paris Games as her division — 69kg— does not feature among the six categories announced for women’s boxing.
The International Olympic Committee confirmed the qualification system and categories for boxing for Paris on Friday.
The women’s competition will now have six divisions (50kg, 54kg, 57kg, 60kg, 66kg, 75kg) — one more than the Tokyo Olympics. Weight classes in men’s have been cut to seven (51kg, 57kg, 63.5kg, 71kg, 80kg, 92kg, +92kg) to bridge the gender gap. For the first time in Olympic boxing history, there will be an equal allocation of boxers –124 each in men and women.
Borgohain missing out on welterweight is a dampener. Her bronze medals at the world championships (2018, 2019) and Tokyo came in 69kg.
“The only issue for us is that Lovlina’s weight (69kg) is not there,” said India’s high performance director Santiago Nieva.
The 24-year-old Assamese will either have to drop to 66kg or move up to 75kg. Either way it will be tough, considering the big difference in weight she will have to cover. Being a tall boxer, choosing middleweight may be the best option.
“She will have to move to a new weight category. She will find it difficult to go down to 66kg. She has previously boxed in 75kg four-five years ago and maybe she will have to move up. Considering her height, skills and experience, she will be able to handle 75kg. She is used to sparring with 75kg boxers. She will have to add some weight and go up,” said Nieva.
Here, se will also have a fierce rival at home in Pooja Rani. The two-time Asian championships winner has dominated the middleweight category and reached the quarterfinals in Tokyo.
“It will be a good rivalry to have two quality boxers in one weight,” says Nieva. “There have been many rivalries at home in several weight categories, competing for an Olympic berth and it is good for Indian boxing.”
Borgohain won the selection trials recently for the world campionships (70kg) and Asian Games (69kg).
“She need not make the change this year. It is complex for boxers because of different weight categories in different competitions.”
Nieva said that the International Boxing Association (IBA) has done a good job in rejigging the weight classes and adding a division for women.
“There was no perfect way to distribute because there were too few weights. The only option was to jump one weight.
“We should be looking to qualify in all 13 weight categories irrespective of the adversities. Last time our boxers got nine out of 13 berths from the first and only Olympic qualification tournament. It was so important because there was no other Olympic qualifier because of Covid.”