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Deepak, Nishant, Parveen Secure Asian Games Berths; Amit Panghal, Nitu Miss Out

World Championship bronze medallist boxers Deepak Bhoria (51kg) and Nishant Dev (71kg) were on Saturday named in the Indian men’s boxing team for this year’s Asian Games in Hangzhou, China after undergoing assessment. Parveen Hooda (57kg), the 2022 Worlds bronze medallist, Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Jaismine Lamboria (60kg), Arundhati Chaudhary and Preeti Pawar joined star boxers Nikhat Zareen (51kg) and Lovlina Borgohain (75kg) in the women’s team for the continental event to be held from September 23 to October 8.

Two-time world champion Nikhat and Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Lovlina had automatically qualified for the Asian Games by virtue of reaching the final of the World Championships in March.

The Asiad boxing competitions assume greater significance as they are also the first Olympic Qualifiers for the 2024 Paris Games for the boxers from the continent.

Reigning Asian Games light flyweight champion and 2019 World Championship silver medallist Amit Panghal will, however, not be able to defend his crown as he once again finished behind Deepak in the assessment.

The two-time Commonwealth Games medallist and 2019 Asian Champion had lost out to Deepak for a spot in this year’s World Championships as well under the Boxing Federation of India’s new selection policy that evaluates a boxer on various parameters over two-three weeks.

On the other hand, the duo of Deepak and Nishant had impressed at the World Championships in May, losing closely-fought semifinal bouts to return home with bronze medals.

Reigning 48kg women’s world champion Nitu Ghanghas also couldn’t make the cut as she was pipped by Preeti Pawar in the 54kg weight class.

Nitu had jumped weight classes as 48kg doesn’t feature in the Olympics and Nikhat has already sealed a berth for the Asian Games in the 51kg division.

The 19-year-old Haryana-based Preeti had put up a fearless display in her debut World Championships earlier the year, which included toppling the top seed and last edition’s silver medallist.

Among men, the experienced Shiva Thapa will represent the country in the super lightweight category (63.5kg).

While 2021 World Youth champion Sachin Siwach has moved up from 54kg to 57kg in the absence of Worlds bronze medallist Mohammad Hussamuddin, who is recovering from a knee injury suffered during the quarterfinal of the championship in May.

Former Asian champion Sanjeet (92kg), Lakshya (80kg) Chahar, and Nerender Berwal, who finished ahead of Commonwealth Games silver medallist Sagar Ahlawat, also made the cut for the marquee event.

Squad:Women: Nikhat Zareen (51kg), Preeti Pawar (54kg), Parveen Hooda (57kg), Jaismine Lamboria 60kg, Arundhati Chaudhary (66kg), Lovlina Borgohain (75kg).

Men: Deepak Bhoria (51kg), Sachin Siwach (57kg), Shiva Thapa (63.5kg), Nishant Dev (71kg), Lakshya Chahar (80kg), Sanjeet 92kg, Narender Berwal (+92kg).

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