Harpal Singh Bedi
New Delhi: Sanjeet saved the day for India by winning a Gold as his experienced compatriots Amit Panghal and Shiva Thapa failed to retain and regain their titles at the 2021 ASBC Asian Championships in Dubai.
After Amit and Shiva Thapa lost their title bouts narrowly all eyes were on Sanjeet and the young Indian did not disappoint as he put up a tough fight against the three-time Asian champion Vassiliy Levit in the 91kg final to hand country its second gold at the 2021 ASBC Asian Championships.
Sanjeet chalked out a commanding 4-1 victory against the Rio Olympic silver medallist Kazkhak boxer as Indian contingent concluded their campaign with 15 medals, including two gold, five silver and eight bronze at the championships.
Earlier , the defending champion Panghal went down fighting against the reigning Olympics champion Zoirov Shakhobidin in a hard-fought 52kg final.
The Indian fought hard against the world champion but could breach Uzbek’s defence at crucial moments and suffered 2-3 defeat with 29-28, 28-29, 28-29, 28-29, 30-27 score line.
Both the boxers showed great skills and attacked from the word go. In the second round defending champion Panghal was more accurate, hit timely punches with more power and was sharp in defense as well.
Shakhobidin hit back well in time and managed to tilt the game in his favour. The Indian team, lodged a protest against the verdict contesting round 2 decision but it was rejected by the Jury Commission .
Shiva Thapa (64kg) also lost his bout by split 2-3 verdict against the Asian Games silver medallist Mongolia’s Baatarsukh Chinzorig.
Thapa the world championships bronze medallist is the only second male boxer in the world to win five medals at the Asian Championships.
The 27-year-old Assam boxer has previously won gold in 2013, silver in 2017 and two bronze in 2015 and 2019.
Hailing Indian pugilists’ performance, Boxing Federation of India (BFI) president Ajay Singh said: “This has been a challenging year for all of us and despite all the uncertainties our boxers had to undergo, it is absolutely heartening to see them ending the Asian Championships campaign with 15 medals including 2 golds and some close decisions that of Amit Panghal and Mary Kom in the finals.
“Our boxers have yet again ensured a record-breaking feat and am extremely proud of each one of them,“These performances I am sure will motivate all our boxers to put more efforts ahead of the Olympics and help realise the Mission 2021 by winning medals in Tokyo” he further added.
Pooja Rani (75kg) had claimed India’s first gold at the event. Seasoned campaigner Mary Kom (51kg), Panghal, Thapa, Lalbuatsaihi (64kg) and Anupama (+81kg) bagged silver medals.
Eight boxers—Vikas Krishan (69kg) Simranjit Kaur (60kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), Jaismine (57kg), Sakshi Chaudhary (54kg), Monika (48kg), Saweety (81kg) and Varinder Singh (60kg)—returned with bronze at the championships.
This is country’s best-ever show surpassing the previous highest of 13 medals achieved during the 2019 edition in Bangkok.
The International Boxing Association (AIBA) allocated USD 4,00,000 prize money for this Championships.
The gold medallists of men’s and women’s categories are awarded with USD 10,000 while both the silver and bronze medal winners take home USD 5,000 and 2,500 respectively.