Action was delayed by over four hours as officials scrambled to get the draws done after four teams landed unannounced even as former Asian champion Shiva Thapa made a winning debut in the lightweight category on a rather chaotic opening day of the National Men’s Boxing Championships here.
The indoor stadium in Guwahati, which had hosted the South Asian Games (SAG) earlier this year, was all decked up to conduct the Championships but the schedule went haywire due to late arrivals and the draws were put out in the evening.
The bouts started well after 6 pm with Shiva’s contest being the only one conducted in the first half of the day owing to Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal’s presence as chief guest.
“The draw was delayed because of late arrival of some teams. Fog delayed their flights and trains. But the biggest issue was the unannounced arrival of four teams. We had no clue that they would be coming till the time they landed here. We could have taken a strict view and kept them out but then we wanted to be accommodating. It was a slight issue and has been sorted,” a top Organising Committee official told PTI.
“Had it not been for these unscheduled arrivals, everything would have gone ahead on time,” he added.
Three rings have been put in place to ensure that proceedings do not go on beyond 8pm. But the delay in draws meant that the event took off way behind schedule.
In the only bout fought in the first half of the day, Shiva hardly broke a sweat to outpunch Arunachal Pradesh’s Gumin Gara 5-0 to make a confident start in the lightweight category.
The World Championships bronze-medallist, who turned 23 today, was watched by Sonowal from the sidelines as he dismantled Gara with consummate ease.
The CM, in fact, donned the gloves himself to inaugurate the event after an elaborate cultural programme.