Harpal Singh Bedi
New Delhi: Pooja Rani was the lone Indian woman pugilist to win the gold as she outpunched in-form Mavluda Movlonova to retain the title while her three other compatriots lost their final bouts at the ASBC Asian Boxing Championships in Dubai..
Seasoned campaigner Mary Kom (51kg), Lalbuatsaihi (64kg) and Anupama (+81kg) claimed silver medals after suffering narrow defeats in their respective finals late last night.
Simranjit Kaur (60kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), Jaismine (57kg), Sakshi Chaudhary (54kg), Monika (48kg) and Saweety (81kg) are among the Indian women pugilists who secured bronze with semi-final finish.
The Olympics-bound Pooja Rani (75kg) displayed sharpness and tactical brilliance and put pressure on the opponent with timely punches.
The Indian kept up her relentless attack and left no chance for Uzbek boxer , to fight back before emerging a 5-0 winner to claim her second successive gold medal at the Asian Championships.
It is also Pooja’s fourth medal at the championships after gold in 2019, silver in 2012 and a bronze in 2015.
Earlier Mary Kom, Lalbuatsaihi finished their campaigns with silver medals after going down fighting in their respective semi-finals.
Mary Kom lost to the two-time world champion Nazym Kyzaibay by split 2-3, Lalbuatsaihi (64kg) also gave her all in another close-fought gold medal but couldn’t manage to get past Milana Safronova of Kazakhstan and suffered a 2-3 defeat to win silver medal in her maiden outing at the Championships.
In the 51kg high-voltage summit clash, Mary Kom and her Kazakh opponent started the bout with aggressive mindset and soon exchanged powerful blows attempting to unsettle each other.
The five-time Asian Championships gold medallist Mary Kom used all her experience against Kayzaibay and made her work hard but it wasn’t enough as the later tilted the hard-fought game successfully in her favour and emerged champion with a narrow 29-28, 28-29, 30-27, 29-28, 28-29 scoreline.
It is the second silver for Mary Kom at the Asian Championships who has previously won titles on five occasion—2003, 2005, 2010, 2012 and 2017 besides silver in 2008.
Later, another Anupama (+81) lost to Lazzat Kungeibayeva of Kazakhstan 2-3 in yet another nail-biting final.
The defending champion Amit Panghal (52kg) and two other pugilists Shiva Thapa (64kg) and Sanjeet (91kg) will be seen in action in the men’s finals.
Panghal will be up against the Rio Olympics and world champion Uzbek pugilist Zoirov Shakhobidin of Uzbekistan. While Assam boxer Thapa will be challenged by the Asian Games silver medallist Mongolia’s Baatarsukh Chinzorig. Second seeded Sanjeet will also have a strong challenge of the Rio Olympics silver medallist Vassiliy Levit, who is chasing his fourth gold medal of the Asian Championships.
Vikas Krishan (69kg) and Varinder Singh (60kg) secured bronze medals in the men’s section with their semi-final finish at the event which witnessed the presence of 150 boxers from 17 countries including strong boxing nations such as India, Uzbekistan, Philippines and Kazakhstan.
The International Boxing Association (AIBA) has allocated USD 4,00,000 prize money for this Championships. The gold medallists of men’s and women’s categories will be awarded with USD 10,000 while both the silver and bronze medal winners will take home USD 5,000 and 2,500 respectively.