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AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships

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By Brig PK Muralidharan Raja, SM, VSM

April 27, 2011

AIBA Women’s Youth World Championships

It was an historic day for Indian boxing in Antalya, Turkey with Sarjubala Devi (48kg), Poonam Chahal (60kg), Minu Basumatary (64kg) securing a berth in the semi-final of the AIBA Women’s Youth World Championships. Lalfakzuali (52kg) obtained a semi-final spot as well, in the Junior Championships.

With Pwilao Basumatary (54kg), Lalenkawli (46kg) and Nikhat Zareen (50kg) having already made a place in the last four of the tournament a day before, India now has seven pugilists with a sure shot chance of a medal at the very first world championship in the women’s Junior and Youth division.

The first Indian in the fray was Lalfakzuali in the light bantamweight category. A silver medalist Junior National Championship last year Lalfakzuali, ousted Te Arohanui Hira of New Zealand in what was a clinical performance. The 14 year old never allowed the New Zealander to take the lead in the three rounds of boxing. In the end she won 17:10 on points. She will now fight Aisaule Taiyar of Kazakhstan in the next round. With this victory Lalfakzuali became the fourth Indian to secure a semi-final berth.

In the Youth section, Sarjubala Devi continued her good run drubbing Xenia Jorneac of Romania. The national youth gold medallist once again displayed her superiority in the light fly weight division. She took a massive 14:2 lead in the first round and seized complete control in the second before her Romanian counterpart retired due to injury in the third. This win assures Sarjubala of a bronze medal in the championship along with a place in the semi-final. She will now lock horns with Kyzaybay Nazym of Kazakhstan.

Poonam Chahal, playing in the lightweight category hammered her way to the semi-finals beating Palsa Malagic from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Chahal thoroughly outclassed her opponent and was leading 10:2 before the referee intervened to stop the fight. The last fight of the day turned out to be a tough contest between Minu Basumatary and Russian Oksana Trofimova. Minu, a silver medallist in the national youth championship was quick to take a 5 point lead in the first, the Russian though kept coming back. In the end the south paw boxer held to claim a 26:20 win by virtue of points. The semi-final will see her take on Irina Gilca of Moldovia while Poonam will fight against Patrica Berghult of Sweden.

The Indian challenge in the junior section also saw upsets in the form of Pinki Kachari (54kg) and Marthamma Sattivada (60kg). Pinki lost out in a closely fought contest against Svetlana Khilchenko of Russia. The Russian pugilist had taken a 6:5 lead after the first round, but Pinki, a gold medallist at the Sub Junior Nationals last year, staged a stunning comeback in the second. The third though completely belonged to Khilchenko, in the end she won 17:15 on points. Marthamma, playing her first bout of the tournament went down 14:8 to Austeja Accueita of Ireland.

Pwilao Basumatary who had beaten Lyiudmila Shakhova of Russia on the first day of the quarter-final bouts, had a shaky start in the tournament, but gathered pace and displayed exceptional agility in the round of eight as she annihilated her Russian opponent by a score of 30:13. “I didn’t do all that well in my first bout as I was a little nervous, but in the quarters I was pretty confident and played my natural game, in the end it paid off. I will try my level best to bring home the gold”, expressed and elated Basumatary who had come to support her fellow team members. Her next bout is against Thi Duyen Luu of Vietnam on the 29th of April.

In the junior section Lalenkawli (46kg) and Nikhat Zareen (50kg) also made a place in the semi-final of the tournament defeating their respective opponents on day one of the quarter-finals. Lalenkawli fighting in the pin weight category is one of India’s gold medal prospects in the tournament. The reigning junior national champion beat Albina Mambetova of the Kyrgyzstan in a one sided contest to book a birth in the last four. The 15 year old, who always carries a smile on face, leaves all the talking to her gloves. Speaking about her chances in the tournament she did squeeze out a few words though saying, “Main gold leke ayaga”. Lalenkawli will now meet Satoko Nakata of Japan.

Nikhat Zareen, in the fly weight category also marched into the semi-final of the competition crushing Elivira Voronkova of Russia in the very first round. The junior national gold medallist adopted a very aggressive approach and put her opponent under pressure from the very beginning. Talking about her quarter-final bout, she added, “I am happy with my performance in the quarters and will hope carry on the form till the end of the contest”. She now takes on Hanna Okhota of Ukraine for a place in the last two.