In an official announcement yesterday, the Boxing Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) disclosed that the country’s top boxers are preparing for the 96th National Boxing Championship. The event, taking place at the Royal College MAS Arena from January 13 to 17 starting at 4 PM, is seen as a crucial step for Sri Lankan boxers eyeing spots in the 2024 Paris Olympics.
BASL, in collaboration with the National Selection Committee, has set its sights not only on the Summer Olympic qualifications but also on targeting the 1st and 2nd World Qualifying Tournament for 2024. The performance in the National Boxing Championship will play a pivotal role in forming a national boxing pool, paving the way for international tournaments in 2024.
The selection criteria extend beyond technical skills, tactical ability and physical fitness. Boxers’ demonstrated capacity to excel at international tournaments will also be considered, with a ranking system giving priority to medal-winning potential at global boxing events.
This year’s National Championship will display the outstanding achievements of Sri Lanka’s emerging talent in recent Malaysia tour, where they secured one gold in Umayanga Mihiran, two silver, and two bronze medals. These young contenders are anticipated to challenge more experienced counterparts in the pursuit of National Championship titles.
Looking ahead, the Asian Boxing Confederation (ASBC) is preparing for three major Championships in the coming year. The ASBC Asian U22 & Youth Boxing Championships are set for April, followed by the ASBC Asian Junior and Schoolboys and Schoolgirls Boxing Championships in August. The 2024 ASBC Asian Elite Boxing Championships will take place in November, just three months after the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
The anticipated participation of nearly 150 boxers from 20 clubs, including representatives from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Police, underscores the significance of the championship. With 13 weight categories for men and 12 weight classes for women, eligibility criteria include gold or silver medalists from various boxing tournaments. Women boxers with medals from specific tournaments are eligible if they are between 19 and 40 years old.
The Technical meeting and Official draw are scheduled for January 12, 2024, from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm at the Royal MAS Arena. Boxer seeding is based on performances from the 2022 National Championships, the Layton Cup Tournament 2023, and the Clifford Cup Championships 2023.
Notably, Umayanga Mihiran and Nishadi Malshani were recognized as the Best Boxers (Men and Women) at the 95th National Boxing Championship in February 2023. The Armed forces teams received accolades as the most successful teams, with various trophies awarded for outstanding achievements at the championships.