Tricky draw for Indian pugilists, Nikhat Zareen to start in quarter-finals at Strandja Memorial Tournament
New Delhi, February 20, 2022
It turned out to be a tricky draw for the Indian pugilists as Sumit and Varinder Singh face tough opponents in their respective opening-round bouts while in women's section Nikhat Zareen will begin her campaign in the quarter-finals at the Strandja Memorial Boxing Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Sumit (75kg) is drawn to kickstart his campaign against the World Championships silver medallist Russia’s Dzhambulat Bizhamov and Varinder Singh (60kg) faces formidable Russian Artur Subkhankulov.
In the women's section, Zareen, the 25-year-old pugilist from Telangana, who clinched the gold medal in the 2019 edition, has received a bye in the 52kg opening round.
Apart from Zareen, Nandini (+81kg) will also feature directly in the last-8 stage. However, in the 66kg category, Anjali Tushir will face a stiff challenge from the two-time World Championships medallist Russia’s Saadat Dalgatova in the opening round.
Among men, the 2021 World Championships bronze medallist Akash Kumar has been given a bye in the 67kg opening round while Lakshya Chahar (86kg) and Narender Berwal (+92kg) are the other Indians to be seen in action on opening day..
A 17-member Indian contingent, including seven men and 10 women, is participating in the 73rd edition of the tournament which is also the first from the Golden Belt Series and also a testing event for International Boxing Association’s World Boxing Tour format.
India won two medals in the last edition of the tournament with Deepak Kumar and Naveen Boora securing silver and bronze respectively.
Europe’s oldest international boxing tournament, which was first held in 1950, will be played till February 27.
With over 450 boxers participating from 36 countries around the world, including strong boxing nations such as Kazakhstan, Italy, Russia and France, the tournament is the first exposure trip for Indian boxers in 2022.