BFI recommends women’s trio for Arjuna award

New Delhi: The Boxing Federation of India (BFI) has recommended the women’s trio of World Championship silver-medallists — Saweety Boora (81kg), Sonia Lather (57kg), and Sarjubala Devi (51kg) — for this year’s Arjuna awards.

All the three boxers have been consistently performing well for India and are regulars in the national team.

Saweety’s world silver medal came in the 2014 edition, the same edition Sarjubala got her silver. Sonia, on the other hand, was India’s lone medalist at the 2016 edition of the big event with her silver.

Both Saweety and Sonia are silver-medallists at the Asian Championships as well. While Saweety won in the 2015 edition, Sonia had claimed it back in 2012.

Sarjubala is a former youth world champion and won a silver medal at the season-opening Nation’s Cup in Serbia early this year.

“All three recommendations from BFI are women because they were the only ones who approached us with their nominations,” a BFI official told PTI on why the federation’s recommendations do not feature any male boxer.

It is learnt that Commonwealth Games and Asian Championships silver-medallist L Devendro Singh (52kg) is among the male boxers to have been recommended for the Arjuna award. But his recommendation has not gone through BFI.

Athletes can be recommended by individuals and entities other than the national federation as well.

Former Asian champion and World Championships bronze- medallist Shiva Thapa was the lone Indian boxer to be conferred the Arjuna award, last year.

Indian boxing has not had a Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardee since 2009 when Olympic bronze-medallists Vijender Singh and M C Mary Kom were bestowed the honour jointly.