Illness hits Som Bahadur, out of World Championship

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Hyderabad, Oct 18 (UNI) Comeback pugilist Som Bahadur Pun will have to wait till early next year to have a shot at Beijing Olympics berth, as he will miss the flight to Chicago World Championship starting October 23 due to jaundice.

Som Bahadur was named in the nine-member Indian squad for the championship which would serve as the first qualifying event for next year's Olympics.

He and AL Lakra, who is also taking part in the 4th Military World Games, were to leave on October 20 from here, the day boxing competitions are over but now only Lakra will go to Chicago.

Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) Secretary General Col Muralidharan Raja, who is here as 4th MWG Boxing Organising Committee Director, said India will not field any boxer in place of Som Bahadur in Chicago.

''Som Bahadur is suffering from jaundice, so he is out of the World Championship,'' Muralidharan told UNI here.

''It is too late to think of a replacement, only Lakra will go to Chicago from here on October 20. The other seven have left on October 15 along with coach GS Sandhu,'' he informed.

Som Bahadur will now have to wait till January next year when the next Olympic qualifiers is held in Bangkok. The third qialifiers is scheduled in March next year in Kazakhstan.

He had made a comeback in the 54th Senior Nationals held in August in New Delhi after a year-long lay off due to illness (cysticercosis; tapeworm cysts in his brain) and had gone on to win gold there.

The Chicago event is important as 88 pugilists will qualify for the Beijing Games from there in 11 weight categories. That means eight from each category -- that is whoever reaches quarter-finals -- will qualify for next year's Olympics. Besides, it is a big event which will see 693 boxers from 121 countries in action.

Indian squad consists of Balbir Singh (48kg), Jitender Kumar (51kg), S Suresh (54kg), AL Lakra (57kg), Jai Bhagwan (60kg), Dilbag Singh (69kg), Vijender (75kg) and Jasveer Singh (81kg).

All of them had won gold in their respective weight categories in the 54th National Senior Boxing Championship in New Delhi.

Verghese Johnson (+91kg), who won bronze in Doha Asian Games but failed to qualify for the final in the Nationals, had been omitted from the squad.

The Nationals gold winners in the 91kg and +91 kg had also been left out on the ground of low standard.

UNI

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