In a stunning turn of events, five-time World Champion and Olympic bronze-medallist M C Mary Kom was today left out of the three-member Indian women's boxing squad for the Commonwealth Games to be held in Glasgow from July 23 to August 3.
Mary Kom, who was on comeback trail after taking an almost two-year-long break due to the birth of her third child, lost to Pinki Jangra (51kg) in the finals of the three-day selection trials which concluded in Patiala today.
World Champion women boxer, MC Mary Kom (R) with and Vanlal Duati in action during the selection trails for Commonwealth Games 2014 at NSNIS in Patiala on Wednesday.
"It was a close bout and I wish Pinki all the best. I hope she brings India a medal," a disappointed Mary Kom told PTI after the setback.
A source told PTI that the bout between Pinki and Mary Kom was even-stevens for most parts but the youngster from Haryana got the selectors' nod for her sheer aggression and agile footwork.
"This is the biggest breakthrough of my career. I respect Mary didi a lot, she has been an inspiration for us. I am very excited to get this opportunity and would look to make the most of it," Jangra told PTI.
"I think I beat Mary didi because I have been an active camper and she was coming back after a break. So, I managed to catch her off-guard," she said.
Women's boxing will be making its debut in three weight categories at the CWG two years after the breakthrough in the London Olympics.
The other boxers who were selected in the women's squad are former World Championship silver-medallist L Sarita Devi (60kg) and Pooja Rani (75kg).
The 24-year-old Jangra is an Asian Championships silver-medallist and had first burst into the scene by beating Mary Kom at the 2009 National Championships.
"I am the youngest child in the family and initially when I started boxing after being inspired by my brother, my parents were very protective of me. But eventually they came around," said Jangra.
An eight-member men's team was also finalised today but there were hardly any surprises in the line-up with former Olympic and World Championships bronze-medallist Vijender Singh getting the nod for his third CWG. Vijender, who has a silver and a bronze medal from his previous CWG outings in 2006 and 2010 respectively, was the expected choice for middle-weight 75kg.
"The men's team has been pruned to eight because the CWG organisers have stated that since women's boxing would be making its debut in Glasgow, each country would be allowed only 11 boxers. It was left to us, which categories we wanted to leave out," a selector said. "So we decided to women in all three weight categories while leaving out 52kg and 60kg from the men's divisions," he added.
Also making the men's squad were Olympians and Asian medallist L Devendro Singh (49kg), Shiva Thapa (52kg) and Sumit Sangwan (81kg). Rising name and forner CWG gold-medallist Akhil Kumar's protege Mandeep Jangra was the pick for 69kg division.
In the heavier weight divisions, Olympian and former Asian Games silver-medallist Dinesh Kumar (91kg) and Praveen More (+91kg) would be representing India at the quadrennial mega-event. At the 2010 edition, which was held in Delhi, Indian men had fetched seven medals, including three gold and four bronze.