Harpal Singh Bedi
New Delhi: Indian Open champion Pinki Rani (51kg) and reigning youth world champion Sakshi (57kg) chalked out contrasting victories over their rivals to storm into the semi finals of the Cologne Boxing World Cup in Germany on Thursday thus assuring India two more medals..
Continuing her superb form Pinki Rani gave yet another dominating performance to blank Thailand’s Phunsang Cahiranchaya 5-0 in the quarter-final bout.
On the other hand , the 18-year-old Sakshi faced stiff resistance from Cecille Kelle of Denmark. The Indian had to dig deep to stave off the Dane’s challenge before she won by a split decision on points.
The Indian contingent is already assured of at least a silver and a bronze after Meena Kumari Maisnam and Pwilao Basumatary reached the final and semi-finals in the 54kg and 64kg respectively.
With only 3 boxers in the fray in the 54kg category, Strandja Memorial gold medallist Maisnam was directly placed in the final.
Similarly, due to the 64kg category having just 5 pugilists, Basumatary, a bronze medallist at Strandja Memorial, is already through to the semi-finals.
Earlier in the day, another Indian Anjali Tushir’s campaign came to an end following her 0-5 loss to Yvonne Baek Rasmussen of Denmark in the opening round of the 69kg category.
India has sent a seven-member team to this prestigious European event this time following a healthy haul of six medals from the erstwhile Chemistry Cup held at Halle last year. Gaurav Solanki (52kg) and Mohammed Hussamuddin (56kg) were the only Indians to stand on the top podium in the last edition.
21 nations have taken part across 17 weight categories at this tournament and it will help elite boxers to hone their skills ahead of the World Championships to be held later this year.