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The hit Machines

Devendro and Sarita entered their respective finals in style and are guaranteed at least a silver medal.

Devendro (Source: AP) Devendro  from an earlier fight against Scotland’s Aqeel Ahmed. (Source: AP)

Devendro Singh has a golden opportunity to avenge his defeat to London nemesis Paddy Barnes of Ireland, after he stormed into the final of the Light Fly (46-49) semifinal of the Commonwealth Games at the SECC on Friday night.

Ghosts of London could be exorcised, though Devendro Singh would rather think of it as bone-to-bone, punch-for-punch headlong clash of two flesh-and-blood fighters.

The Friday fury involved Devendro effecting his second knock-down of the meet, this time getting rid of Ashley Williams of Wales in the second round to win a 3-0 domineering bout.

It wasn’t the easiest of bouts though, since despite that stuttering, Williams got up and kept the pace of his punching persistent till the last second.

Devendro’s victory hence was in bringing up a defense in spite of the tempestuous tempo that the Welshman kept throughout the fight. Straight-rights and body-punches were his bread and butter, but his defense, which has in the past let him down, held strong in an important semifinal.

“You don’t plan for such things as knock downs, but making an impression was important. Tomorrow I’ll fight with technique and not loosely,” he promised.

An official with a clipboard waited patiently for Sarita Devi to finish her media interviews after she romped into the final of the Women’s lightweight, disposing of Maria Machongua of Mozambique. Sarita was giggling away at her opponent’s vain attempt at leashing her powerful punches, at binding her into a clinch, a forced embrace, and not letting go even after the ring ref barked a stern ‘break.’

When all else failed Maria would go lock her arms around Sarita’s neck, and all was failing quite spectacularly as the lesser experienced boxer learnt quite early into the fight she had no answers to the raw strength of the hits landing on her face.

She’d take wild swings like a drunk at a funfair hoopla. She’d get one smack on her forehead having opened up a yawning gap in her guard.

There’s a marvelously fitting desi word for it — gale-padoo — and Sarita was laughing uproariously at a fight that went swimmingly well, when the official interrupted her coach.

She was told her colours for the final against Australian Shelley Watts, and asked what background score would she march into the ring to on final day, where she is desperate to win gold.

They made do with Jai Ho, but looks like Chak De! will replace The Proclaimers 500 Miles on Saturday, though a Manipuri folk battle-song would be a nice touch for a crowd that sees Sarita Devi as the “next Mary Kom”.

The faces drop a wee, and take in a fistful of air, when you chuckle and tell them it’s Mary and Sarita now.

For the Mozambique boxer though it was all thump-thump as she was forced to swing on the ropes, and pushed back with such ferocity that in trying to get away from her opponent, she wound her arms right around Sarita.

It was a unanimous decision for the record, a 3-0 win with no doubt from the first punch of who would not be held back by the unwanted embrace. “She kept holding onto me, I couldn’t help but laugh,” Sarita would say later.

“In the new point system, it’s not just about how many punches landed. They also see aggression and overall technique. It’s important to make the first impression,” coach Hemlata said. For Sarita herself, it was a forward march, packing in punches that thundered, never mind the cushioning of the gloves.

“I didn’t think too much, it messes up with boxing,” she said, though aware that against the Australian she’ll need to alter her technique drastically, while not giving up on the aggression that’s part of the dread she oozes in a ring.

The Australian earned a clear 3-0 win, too, but not as commanding as Sarita’s though, the Indian’s defense will be tested in the final.

Indians benefit after Nigerian lifter Amalaha stripped of gold

GLASGOW: Nigeria teenager Chika Amalaha has been stripped of her Commonwealth Games weightlifting gold medal after failing a doping test, the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) said on Friday. The 16-year-old, who won gold in the women’s 53kg competition, provided positive A and B samples that contained prohibited diuretics and masking agents.

“The Commonwealth Games Federation has determined that Nigerian weightlifter, Chika Amalaha, has committed an anti-doping rule violation and has fully suspended her from the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow,” the CGF said in a statement.

“As a result, Amalaha has been disqualified from her event at the Games, with her result in the women’s weightlifting 53 kilogram competition nullified.”

Dika Toua from Papua New Guinea has been awarded the gold medal with Indian duo Santoshi Matsa and Swati Singh claiming silver and bronze.

Amalaha was Nigeria’s first gold medal winner in Glasgow, equalling the Games snatch record of 82kg with her first attempt before lifting 85kg on her third.

Her combined total of 196kg was also a Games record, and according to the International Weightlifting Federation she was the youngest women to win a weightlifting title in Games history. (Reuters)

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