New Delhi: World Championship bronze-medallist Gaurav Bidhuri and Asian silver-medallist Sonia Lather were today nominated by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) for this year’s Arjuna awards.
“Gaurav and Sonia have been nominated for the Arjuna, while women’s chief coach Shiv Singh, and his assistants Bhaskar Bhatt and Sandhya Gurung have been nominated for the Dronacharya award,” a top BFI official told PTI.
Both Bidhuri and Sonia are ironically out of action right now for different reasons.
While Bidhuri, a bantamweight 56kg category boxer, is recovering from a nagging back problem that put him out of contention from the recent Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Sonia’s weight division (57kg) was altogether dropped from the CWG final selection.
Bidhuri rose to prominence quite unexpectedly last year when he claimed a bronze medal at the World Championship in Hamburg. The 24-year-old had gone in after getting a wildcard that had originally been offered to Bhutan.
In perhaps the best performance of his career, he overcame his troubling back and some fine opponents to claim India’s lone medal at the marquee biennial event.
Sonia, on the other hand, stood out for her performance at the Asian Championships in Vietnam, claiming her second silver overall. The 26-year-old was the only boxer, apart from the celebrated M C Mary Kom, to make the final of the continental showpiece.
She is also a World Championships silver-medallist but was left disheartened when the federation decided to drop 57kg from the final selection for CWG to conform to the contingent size stipulated by the Indian Olympic Association.
As for the nominated coaches, Shiv Singh took charge of the women’s camp just before the Asian Championship in November last year. He has also been involved in the men’s camp, besides coaching junior women boxers.
Both Bhatt and Gurung have been a part of the national camp for over a year now and should the latter get lucky in her second nomination, it would be the first Dronacharya for woman boxing coach in the country.
Former Commonwealth Games silver-medallist L Devendro Singh was the lone boxer to win the Arjuna award last year.