Gandhinagar: Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain and former youth Asian champion Ankushita Boro lifted Assam’s campaign with two gold medals as the boxing competitions at the 36th National Games drew an end at the Mahatma Mandir complex here on Wednesday.
Services continued to lead the charge in the Games medal tally after five of their six boxers in action clinched gold medals on a concluding day. In the women’s competitions, Haryana and Assam shared the honours with two gold each while Punjab took the remaining gold on offer.
Two-time World Championship bronze medallist Lovlina got her jabs and combination punches to perfection against Haryana’s Saweety Boora to cap off a memorable debut at the National Games with a gold medal.
Co-incidentally, this is the lanky Assamese pugilist first medal after switching to the women’s 75kg middleweight division post the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Lovlina had earlier won the Tokyo bronze in the welterweight category.
“I wanted to test myself after switching over to the new weight category, it isn’t easy to come back after an injury but I pushed myself to keep myself match ready ahead of the Asian Championships,” an elated Lovlina told EastMojo after her bout.
But it was former youth Asian champion Ankushita, who got Assam’s campaign to a flying start by clinching the gold medal in a one-sided women’s 66kg welterweight final against fellow Northeast boxer Alena Thounaojam of Manipur.
Ankushita was a class apart from her unheralded Manipuri opponent Alena Thounaojam, who looked clueless across the two rounds that she managed to survive against the Assamese pugilist’s fury in the women’s 66kg welterweight category final.
“This is my first National Games gold medal, I am at a loss for words. I have worked hard for this after winning the bronze at the Elorda Cup in July. This medal will keep me in good rhythm at the Asian championship,” she told EastMojo.
For Alena, who started boxing in 2015 and trains at the legendary MC Mary Kom’s academy near Imphal, believes the National Games silver will help her boxing dreams to flourish. Alena will now head to her academy to prepare for the upcoming NorthEast Games in Meghalaya next month.
Meanwhile, after a forgettable show at the Tokyo Games, Simranjit Kaur of Punjab redeemed herself by winning the gold with a clinical 4-0 victory in the women’s 60kg lightweight final over Haryana’s Jasmine Lamboria, who looked a pale shadow of herself in the opening rounds. Jaismine, the Birmingham Commonwealth Games bronze medallist tried to regain lost ground in the final round but it was too little too late for her eventually.
In the women’s 57kg featherweight bout, Punjab’s Mandeep Kaur paid the price for starting defensively as Haryana’s Poonam gave herself a clear lead after the first two rounds to pocket the contest by a 4-1 margin.
Coming to the men’s bouts, two-time Commonwealth Games medalist Mohammed Hussamuddin (57kg) got the Services’ juggernaut to a rollicking start before Etash Khan Muhammed (60kg), Akash (67kg), Sanjeet (92kg) and Narender (+92kg) made it an eventful outing in the boxing ring for the team.
Reigning Asian champion Sanjeet was determined to make his National Games debut memorable after a rather unlucky campaign at the CWG in Birmingham. Up against his statemate Naveen of Haryana, Sanjeet forced the referee to give a standing count of eight before clinching the bout with authority. In the men’s +92kg super heavyweight category bout, Narender prevailed over Chandigarh’s Sawan Kumar 5-0. In the men’s welterweight category, Services boxer Akash defeated Haryana’s Akash 5-0 to bag the top spot on the podium.
In the men’s middleweight division, Nikhil Dubey lived his late coach Dhananjay Tiwary’s dreams by pocketing the yellow metal with a 5-0 victory over lesser-known Malsawmitluanga of Mizoram. On his way to Gandhinagar to watch his ward in the semifinal, Tiwary passed away in a fateful road accident on Tuesday.
In the featherweight division, Hussamuddin banked on brilliant counter punches and combinations to beat Haryana’s Sachin Siwach 3-1 and lay his hands on the men’s 57kg gold. The Telangana native cleverly defended himself from the world youth champion’s aggression before seizing the momentum with clean hits.
Earlier, the national championship silver medallists duo of Ankit Sharma (51kg) and Minakshi (52kg) boosted Haryana’s medal tally by clinching the gold medals in the men’s and women’s flyweight categories, respectively.
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