Harpal Singh Bedi
New Delhi: India Open gold medallist Neeraj (57kg) and World Championships bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) clinch gold medals while Gaurav Solanki (56kg) settled for a silver as Indian finished with six medals at the Magomed Salam Umakhanov Memorial International Boxing Tournament in Kaspiysk, Russia on Saturday.
Indian pugilists boxers thus finished their campaign on a high with a rich haul of two gold, one silver and three bronze
Neeraj, who had caused a big upset in the semi-finals by stunning former world champion Alessia Mesiano 3-2, continued her impeccable form in the summit clash against Russia’s Malika Shakhidova. With two of the judges’ points being drawn at 28-28, the Strandja Cup bronze medallist Neeraj went on to register a commanding 3-0 victory over the Russian.
Having had to taste a bitter 2-3 defeat at the hands of Assunta Canfora at the India Open final, Lovlina was better prepared this time to tackle the wily Italian. The tall Assamese boxer was on guard throughout the bout and never shied away from raining down her flurry of punches to grab a narrow 3-2 win over Canfora.
After capturing the India Open silver and a bronze from the Strandja Cup, Lovlina’s efforts and dedication have been rewarded with her first international gold medal of the year.
While Lovlina and Neeraj dazzled in their respective finals, India failed to have a flawless day as Gaurav Solanki succumbed to a 0-5 defeat to Uzbekistan’s Abdulkhay Sharakhmatov. The Commonwealth Games gold medallist was unable to judge his opponent’s pace and power and could never recover from the early blows.
Reigning Asian Championships gold medallist Pooja Rani suffered a narrow 3-2 defeat to home favourite Anna Anfinogenova in the middleweight (75kg) semi-finals and had to be content with the bronze.
Govind Sahani (49Kg) and Jony (60Kg) also grabbed bronzes after their semi-final losses. While Govind lost to Russia’s Kurban Bayranbekov 1-4, Jony went down to Russia’s Natalya Shadrina by a similar score line.