It was raining gold for India’s women boxers at the Youth World Championships in Kielce, Poland on Thursday with all seven finalists notching up splendid summit victories, making it the country’s best ever performance at the marquee event. Gitika (48kg), Babyrojisana Chanu (51kg), Poonam (57kg), Vinka (60kg), Arundhati Choudhary (69kg), Thokchom Sanamachu Chanu (75kg) and Alfiya Pathan (+81kg) ensured a perfect finish to the campaign for the women’s contingent. While Gitika prevailed 5-0 over Poland’s Natalia Kuczewska, Babyrojisana defeated Valeriia Linkova of Russia by a similar margin after a close opening round.
Poonam clinched a comfortable 5-0 triumph over France’s Sthelyne Grosy. Vinka, on the other hand, out-classed Kazakhstan’s Zhuldyz Shayakhmetova, forcing the referee to stop the contest midway through the final round.
For Arundhati, local favourite Barbara Marcinkowska hardly posed any challenge as the Indian walked away with a 5-0 triumph in the final. Chanu came through after an engrossing clash against Kazakhstan’s Dana Diday which ended with the Indian prevailing in a split 3-2 verdict.
In the last bout of the evening, Alfiya Pathan (+81kg) completed the gold sweep with a 5-0 hammering of Moldova’s Daria Kozorez. With this, India’s women boxers bettered their best ever haul of five gold medals that was achieved in the 2017 edition in Guwahati.
“This has been an amazing effort from our youth boxers especially when the players had to be confined at home for most part of the last year and only make do with online training sessions,” said Boxing Federation of Indian President Ajay Singh.
Gitika opened the proceedings for India and she grunted her way to domination, outpunching her hapless opponent. Also striking was Gitika’s impeccable footwork and balance.
Kuczewska, on the other hand, looked clueless for most part, rarely managing to connect and unable to cope with the sheer pace and aggression of her rival. Gitika gave Kuczewska a bloodied nose in the third round, refusing to take her foot off the pedal even for a second. Babyrojisana, on the other hand, fought out a more intense battle.
Both the boxers spent the opening round taking a measure of each other but the Indian landed enough straights to get a 3-2 verdict in her favour in the first three minutes. The engagement picked up in the second round and it was the Manipuri who grabbed the upper-hand, negating the Russian’s height advantage with some ferocious hooks.
Linkova was also guilty of not defending well as Babyrojisana clinched the second round unanimously. In the final three minutes, Babyrojisana, a product of M C Mary Kom’s academy in Manipur, stepped up the pressure with an attack-first approach to seal the bout.
Later Poonam and Vinka produced similarly dominating performances against their rivals to rightfully claim a top place finish on the podium.
“Our coaches and support staff did a stellar job despite the limitations and challenges. This achievement is a testament of the talent we have in the upcoming generation of Indian boxing,” the BFI President stated. India can add an eighth gold to their tally on Friday when the country’s lone male finalist — Sachin (56kg) — fights his final bout.
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