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The Hindu
The Hindu
Y. B. Sarangi

Commonwealth Games boxing – new talent steps up; old hands engineer a revival

The emergence of new talents, the revival of experienced hands and the below-par finish of a few big names sum up the showing of Indian boxers in the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

India, which slipped a bit to collect seven medals (including three golds) in comparison to the nine it had four years ago, retained its second place. Northern Ireland, which also had seven medals but with five golds, took the top spot.

Among women, two-time World youth champion Nitu Ghanghas (48kg) gave a good account of her fine boxing skills to secure her first major title.

Nikhat Zareen, the World champion in 52kg, boxed with more confidence to win her maiden Commonwealth Games gold in 50kg and put herself on the track to achieve greater glory.

Lovlina Borgohain’s exit, a big shock

While the promising Jaismine Lamboria (60kg) gathered a bronze, Olympics bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain (70kg) exited in the quarterfinals to the shock of everyone.

“Nitu and Nikhat’s performances against quality opponents were laudable. Jaismine’s showing was satisfactory. Lovlina returning without a medal was disheartening,” National women’s team head coach Bhaskar Bhatt told The Hindu.

The revival of two male boxers — Worlds silver medallist Amit Panghal (51kg) and Mohammad Hussamuddin (57kg) — was heart-warming.

Amit, who went through a low phase after his ignominious defeat in the Tokyo Olympics, fought back with renewed determination and gave a series of clinical performances to claim his first gold after his silver in Gold Coast.

“We went back to the basics of training and motivated Amit,” said Amit’s personal coach Anil Dhankar.

Hussamuddin makes light of an injury

Hussamuddin bravely overcame a loss in the National championships final and made light of a left thumb injury to take his second consecutive bronze at the Games.

Super heavyweight boxer Sagar Ahlawat, who landed a silver on his international debut, was the surprise package of the event.

Gifted with explosive power and good hand speed, Ahlawat tormented his opponents with his booming punches.

“Sagar could have won the gold had he not picked up an injury. The silver should make him hungry for bigger success,” said Hitesh Deswal, Ahlawat’s early coach.

While underachiever Rohit Tokas (67kg) got a bronze medal to boost his confidence, Worlds and Asian medallist Shiva Thapa (63.5kg) lost in the pre-quarterfinals to the disappointment of several fans.

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