New Delhi, August 29,
Nitu will open India's go-for-gold campaign in the ongoing AIBA Women's and Men's World Championships at Budapest on Wednesday evening, as three other pugilists--Anamika, Sakshi and Manisha--will join the chorus later tonight in the Hungarian capital.
Of the 10 girls competing here, eight of them managed to make it to the semi-finals in a record-breaking feat and four among them further crossed the hurdle with a fantastic showing in the rings late last night.
The first one to make the final cut was Nitu, who defeated the hard-punching Anel Kudaibergen of Kazakshtan in the lightfly category (45-48 kg) to get a 3:2 split verdict from the five judges. The Indian led, despite punching and inching her way, the judges verdicts kept fluctuating. But Nitua was holding a slender advantage which she held on gamely until the bell rang, thanks to her tenacity. The 2017 World Championship Gold medallist, making to a successive final, takes on Thailand's Nillada Meekoon in the final.
Anamika, on the other hand, proved too hot for her Thai rival, Kittiya Nampai in flyweight class (51 kg) as the Indian outpunched round after round to emerge a clear winner on points (5:0). Anamika, who will clash with one of the most talked youth boxer, American Heaven Destiny Garcia in the gold showdown, was severe begin with against the Thai who was left guarding herself for most of the time. Anamika, with an open guard, invited her opponent but Nampai was content not to get KO verdict.
2017 Gold medallist at the world championship, Sakshi, too, had an easy semi-final bout in the featherweight class of 57 kg against Isamary Aquino of USA. As the bout opened, both pugilists were taking their own time to trade off punches. With a few jabs and hooks, Sakshi tried to open the American's close guard and even landed a couple of punches, including an uppercut which gave her points and substantial lead in the first round. The Indian decided to go all out and added to her points tally before the final bell and won the bout 5:0. She will meet Nikolina Cacic of Croatia in the final.
In the adjacent B ring, a little latter, Manisha crossed swords with Veronika Villas of Hungary, a promising boxer. With the local crowd rooting for the Hungrian, it looked Manisha would have a torrid time but the Indian brushed aside the pressure and landed some combination punches to wrap the bout with a 4:1 verdict in her favour. The Asian Youth Champion will take on Gemma Paige Richardson from England in the final.
Earlier, Astha Pahwa, who has a bronze under her belt from the 2017 world meet at home, could not resist French girl Tallya Brillaux who won on points (5:0). Jony, too, lost her lightweight (60 kg) bout to Nune Asatrian with a similar 5:0 verdict and both the pugilists had to settle for a bronze medal.
The verdicts against Sakshi Umesh in light heavy (81) and Neha Yadav in heavy (+81) was no different as the Indians logged no points on the scoreboard during the entire duration of their bouts with their opponents scoring 5:0 points to leave the Indians content with the bronze medals.
Yesterday, both Bhavesh Kattimani (53 Kg) and Ankit (60 kg) had ended with bronze medals after losing in the semi-finals in the Youth boys’ category.