इंडियन आवाज़     26 Sep 2023 07:46:16      انڈین آواز

Boxing: Debutante Manju Rani in fina, Mary Kom stumbles in Semis at AIBA World Championships

By Harpal Singh Bedi

Displaying fierce fighting spirit debutante, Manju Rani (48kg) stormed into the final while veteran Mary Kom along with , Lovlina Borgohain and Jamuna Boro had to settle for bronze at AIBA Women’s World Championships held in Ulan-Ude, Russia on Saturday.

The Strandja Cup silver medallist, who started off slow against former World Championships bronze medallist Chuthamat Raksat of Thailand, gained in pace and aggression as the bout progressed to eventually secure a 4-1 win.

This was also sweet revenge for the youngster after having tasted defeat at the hands of Raksat at the Thailand Open semi-finals this year.

In the process she emulated the feats of Mary Kom herself as well as Sonia Chahal, Sonia Lather, Saweety Boora, Sarjubala Devi, Usha Nagisetty, each of whom had made it to the final in their maiden appearance at the World Championships.

The Haryana girl has been in terrific form throughout the tournament and her biggest achievement so far has been an upset win over the top seed Kim Hyang of North Korea in the quarter-finals. In her quest for the gold, she will face second seed Ekaterina Paltceva of Russia.

“I had already played her in Thailand Open semi-finals so I had the experience and knew what to expect. I managed to land a few uppercuts in the first round but she caused me trouble in the second round. I followed the strategy of the coaches in the last round and won the bout,” said an elated Manju Rani after the victory.

However six time World Champion Mary Kom’s quest for a seventh gold went up in a smoke when she suffered a 1-4 loss to second seed Busenaz Cakiroglu of Turkey in 51kg. She thus had to settle for the bronze to add to her glittering resume that already has six gold medals and one silver to make her the most successful boxer, male or female, in the history of the Amateur World Championships.

The Indian camp lodged a protest alleging that the verdict was controversial as Mary Kom was deprived of some scoring points.

According to AIBA’s Rule 20 – Bout Review, only a 3-2 decision is acceptable for an appeal. Hence, even though the Indian contingent sought a review of the decision, the appeal was later rejected by the AIBA technical committee.

Meanwhile, Lovlina Borgohain’s hopes of bettering the colour of her last year’s bronze were also dashed after the Assam pugilist went down 2-3 to China’s Yang Liu in an extremely closely-fought contest. With this loss, Borgohain now has two bronze medals from consecutive editions of the championships.
India did raise a yellow card for Lovlina’s bout in Round 1 but the technical observer turned down the protest, citing consistency of scores with the judges. Hence the Indian contingent’s protest was not accepted.

The other debutante in the semis line-up, India Open gold medallist Jamuna Boro (54kg) also had to be content with the bronze following a 0-5 defeat to top seed and former Asian Games bronze medallist Huang Hsiao-Wen of Chinese Taipei.

On Sunday, Manju Rani will hunt for her first gold from the World Championships when she takes on second seed Ekaterina Paltceva of Russia at 1:30pm IST.

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