Reigning national champion Neeraj (51kg) struck gold, while three others settled for silver medals as India’s women boxers finished commendable 3rd at the 6th Nation’s Cup in the Serbian city of Vrbas today. Haryana-girl Neeraj, who was competing in her maiden internaitonal tournament, defeated Kazakhstan’s Jaina Shekerbekova to win the lone gold for the country.
However, former World Championships silver-medallist Sarjubala Devi (48kg), Priyanka Chaudhary (60kg), Pooja (69kg) and Seema Poonia (+81kg) had to be content with silver medals after losing their respective summit clashes.
While Sarjubala went down 3-2 to Russia’s Yulia Chumgalakova in a closely-fought contest, Priyanka lost to Kazakhstan’s Rimma Volosenko. Pooja also fought hard in her clash against Valentina Khalzova but ended up on the losing side for a silver.
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“I am very happy with how the girls have performed in this tournament. We came here with just about 25 days of training and the girls have done us proud,” chief coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu, on his maiden assignment as the national women’s coach, told PTI from Vrbas.
Seema, who made it to the final without fighting a single bout as her category featured only three boxers, also went down to a Kazakh in Lyazzat Kungenbayeva.
India thus finished the event with a gold, four silver and a bronze medal.
The bronze medal came through former Asian Games bronze-medallist Kavita Goyat, who lost her semifinal contest owing to a knee injury, which might require surgery on return to India.
This was the Indian eves’ first tournament under Sandhu, who served as the country’s chief men’s coach for over two decades. India were behind Kazakhstan and Russia in the elite category of the tournament, which also featured schoolgirl, junior and youth division competition.