Indian boxers reach Dubai for Asian Championships after delayed landing
(Sourced from PTI)
The Indian boxing team, featuring the likes of MC Mary Kom (51kg) and Amit Panghal (52kg), reached Dubai to compete in the Asian Boxing Championships aboard an "air-bubble flight," which had to stay mid-air longer than scheduled as administrative paperwork delayed its landing. The team had reached Dubai on Friday evening. Here are more updates.
The tournament starts on Monday with the draws lined up for Sunday. It is the only major competition that the boxers will get before the July-August Olympics given the COVID-19 restrictions in place around the globe. There was some confusion regarding the approval letter for the trip which was eventually sorted thanks to the intervention of the Indian Embassy in the UAE.
"The flight took a while to land but the boxers have now reached their hotel," a source close to the team said. The Boxing Federation of India issued a statement, thanking the Indian ambassador to the UAE for his assistance but did not get into details of what caused the delay in the flight's landing.
"Indian contingent has landed in Dubai and reached the hotel. Two RT-PCR tests, one at the airport and the other at the hotel have been conducted. Indian team flew on SpiceJet flight under the air bubble agreement with the relevant permissions," the statement read.
"Boxing Federation of India is grateful to the Indian Embassy and Ambassador Mr. Pavan Kapoor for ensuring the contingent's participation at the 2021 ASBC Asian Championships," it added. The 10-member strong women's team is being led by the redoubtable MC Mary Kom (51kg), along with three other Olympic-bound boxers -- Simranjit Kaur (60kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), and Pooja Rani (75kg).
Two Olympic-bound names missing from the men's team are Manish Kaushik (63kg) and Satish Kumar (+91kg), both of whom are currently recovering from COVID-19. A total of five men have qualified for the Tokyo Games in July-August. Apart from India, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines, and Uzbekistan are among the prominent countries which will compete at the continental showpiece.
India had delivered its best-ever Asian Championship performance in the 2019 edition in Thailand, claiming 13 medals, including two gold, four silver, and seven bronze. Notably, last year, India was also the host of the 2020 Asian Boxing Championships.