Thapa, Nikhat lead Indian charge in the Asian Boxing Championships
Harpal Singh Bedi
New Delhi: Olympian Shiva Thapa (60kg) and former world junior champion Nikhat Zareen (51kg), led the charge as Indian pugilists continued their domination in the ring assuring the country 13 medals in the Asian Boxing Championships in Bangkok, Thailand on Tuesday.
Olympian Shiva Thapa (60kg) who won a gold in 2013, a silver in 2017 and a bronze in 2015, confirmed his fourth medal with a resounding 5-0 victory over local favourite Rujakran Juntrong of Thailand.
With this, he became the first Indian pugilist to win a medal from four consecutive Asian Championships.
Nikhat created a huge upset beating former two-time world champion Nazym Kyzaibay of Kazakhstan to enter the semi-finals and confirm her first medal from the Championships .
Nikhat , gold medallist at the Strandja Cup earlier this year, was sharp and dominated her bout to register a 5-0 unanimous victory over her highly accomplished opponent in a stunning result.
Sarita Devi (60kg) also confirmed her medal from this tournament as 7 men and 6 women from India have now entered the last-four.
37-year old Sarita Devi defied the age as she outpunched Kazakhstan’s Rimma Volossenko 3-2 to march into the last-four.
The former world champion thus added her sixth Asian Championships medal to her illustrious resume after four gold medals (2003, 2005, 2008 and 2010) and a silver in 2001.
Ashish Kumar (75kg) secured his maiden medal from this Championships in a comprehensive quarter-final victory. Kyrgyzstan’s Omurbek Uulu Bekzhigit was no match for the former National Games gold medallist who thoroughly decimated his opponent 5-0 with a flurry of punches.
In 69kg too, India had delight after Ashish stamped his authority over Vietnam’s Tran Duc Tho in a dominant 5-0 victory.
2018 Commonwealth Games silver medallist Satish Kumar (+91kg) held his nerves to stave off stiff resistance from Dohyeon Kim of Korea 3-2 on his way to the semi-finals and his second medal from this tournament. Satish already has a bronze from the 2015 edition.
Manisha Moun (54kg) kept her impressive run going to lay her hands on a medal on her Asian Championships debut.
The Haryana girl made no mistake in her thunderous 5-0 victory over Philippine’s Petecio Nice Zzaa.
In women’s 64kg, Simranjit Kaur emerged a 4-1 winner over Vietnam’s Ha Thi Linh in a split decision.
The 23-year-old, who won a bronze at the World Championships last year, will look to change the colour of the medal here.
Jordan’s two-time Asian Championships bronze medallist Hussein Lashaish proved too strong for 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Naman Tanwar, who went down 0-5 in his opening bout.
Also bowing out of the competition was Nupur (75kg), who showed promise before going down to North Korea’s Pak Un Sim.
Wednesday is Championship’s rest day.