New Delhi, Feb 19,
Indian women boxers collected a rich haul of 6 medals, including two gold, one Silver and three bronze medals to finish their campaign on a high at the 70th StrandjaMemorial Boxing tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria on Tuesday.
Former world junior champion Nikhat Zareen(51kg) and Maisnam Meena Kumari Devi (54kg) grabbed the gold medals while debutante Manju Rani (48kg) had to settle for silver.
The 22-year-old Zareen was absolutely ruthless in her bout against Magno Irish of the Philippines. With a flurry of punches, the two-time national champion never allowed her opponent to settle into the match and was declared a unanimous 5-0 winner. Nagaland’s Maisnam Meena Kumari collected the second gold medal of the day although the former Asian Championships bronze medallist was made to work hard for it. Aira Villegas of Philippines fought tooth and nail with the Indian in the 54kg final but Meena Kumari’s speed, alertness and resolve helped her pull through 3-2 in the tightly-contested match.
India, however, met with disappointment in the 48kg category where Manju Rani went down 0-4 to former world champion Josie Gabuco of the Philippines. The latter’s experience proved too much for the young Manju to handle, who was making her debut on foreign soil.
The 48kg Indian national champion initially lost 1-4 but a point was docked after she received a warning for accidentally punching the opponent even after the referee pronounced the end of the bout.
This is a creditable show put up by Indian women pugilists in the first tournament of the European boxing calendar. Earlier, Indian women had delivered three bronze medals following the semi-final losses suffered by Neeraj (60kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) and Pwilao Basumatary (64kg).
With this, they emulated the performance by the Indian women’s team from last year when they finished with six medals as well.
India could add yet another gold through the only Indian remaining in the men’s draw, Amit Panghal. The Asian Games gold medallist has his 49kg final bout scheduled later in the day.
William Gurumayum, Sub-Editor of Imphal Times is a resident of Sagolband Salam Leikai. He has been with Imphal Times since beginning. A avid adventure lover, writes mostly travelogue.