Former junior world champion Nikhat Zareen was today assured of her maiden medal at the Senior Women’s National Championships after she sailed into the semifinals of the event with a comprehensive victory here.
The fast-rising flyweight (51kg) boxer from Telangana was hardly pushed in her quarterfinal contest against Assam’s Manju Basumatary and triumphed with a unanimous 3-0 decision.
She will next be up against Haryana’s Neeraja, who got the better of Manipur’s Yaisana Chanu 3-0.
“I wasn’t particularly happy with my performance in the previous two rounds. But today I think I was in command. I am very happy to have secured my first Senior National medal. Hopefully, I would continue to get better going forward and win a gold medal,” Nikhat said after the rather lopsided contest.
Also advancing to the medal round was former World Championships silver-medallist Sarjubala Devi (48kg). The Manipuri girl endured a tough contest from Delhi state champion Pooja Tokas.
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Sarjubala was adjudged the winner in a 3-2 split decision after scores given by all five judges were taken into account.
The battle between the two diminutive girls was an enthralling show with the slugfest going to the last second. It was hard to pick a clear winner primarily because of the stellar fighting spirit displayed by the underdog Pooja.
The Delhi girl was reduced to tears when the referee raised Sarjubala’s hand. Sarjubala, who was visibly exhausted by the gruelling contest, will next be up against Railways Sports Promotion Board’s Rajesh Narwal. Rajesh was impressive in her 3-0 victory over Kerala’s Maria Thomas.
In contrast, another former World Championships silver-medallist Saweety Boora (81kg), representing Haryana, dominated her rival Babita Basera of Uttarakhand to notch up a win via Technical Knockout in the second round.
Saweety will be up against Railways Sports Promotion Board’s Bhagyavati K, who defeated Himachal Pradesh’s Pratibha.
Two-time world silver-medallist Kavita Chahal, who is representing Haryana, also advanced to the semifinal after scoring a Technical Knockout against Manipur’s M Sangita.
Among others, former Asian Games bronze-medallist Kavita Goyat (75kg), who is representing the All India Police here, was also among the prominent names to make the medal round. Kavita will square off against Railways Sports Promotion Board’s (RSPB) promising talent Meena Rani.
Meena defeated Assam’s Lovelina Borgohain in her quarterfinal bout.
However, the day was not without its upsets. The big name to fall by the wayside today was former Asian Championships silver-medallist Pavitra (64kg). Pavitra, competing for RSPB, was outwitted by Punjab’s Simranjit Kaur 2-1 in a hard-fought bout.
Simranjit will fight it out against All India Police’s Suman, who defeated Andhra Pradesh’s A Manisha.