Indian boxers remained on course for their best ever performance at the AIBA Women’s Youth World Championships, adding five more medals to the already assured two on the day of quarterfinals here.
Jyoti Gulia (51kg), Shashi Chopra (57kg), Ankushita Boro (64kg), Nitu (48kg) and Sakshi Choudhary (54kg) entered the semifinals after winning their respective quarterfinal bouts in Guwahati on Wednesday.
They joined Neha Yadav (+81kg) and Anupama (81kg), who found themselves in the last-four stage due to the small size of the draws of their respective weight categories. However, Niharika Gonella (75kg) and Astha Pahwa (69kg) bowed out of medal contention after going down to England’s Georgia O’Connor and Turkey’s Canser Oltu in their respective quarterfinal bouts.
First, up for India today was Gulia, who took on Italy’s Giovanna Marchese. The Haryana-girl, an international gold-medallist, was her trademark aggressive self and had Marchese on the backfoot from the word go.
Her dominance was consistent in all three rounds, earning a unanimous 5-0 verdict from the judges. Next was Chopra, up against 10th seed Sandugash Abilkhan of Kazakhstan. Also an international gold-medallist, the Haryana-boxer did not have it as easy as the 5-0 scoreline might suggest.
Abilkhan was quite a handful, especially in the opening three minutes, but Chopra managed to outwit her by raising the tempo in the second and third round. Boro, a two-time international silver-medallist fought through the most draining of the three Indian bouts on Wednesday.
Squaring off against Italy’s Rebecca Nicoli, the local favourite waved off a rather stiff challenge. What saved the day for Boro was her admirable footwork and reflexes. Nicoli remained in attack mode in all three rounds but struggled to connect due to Boro’s solid guard and quick movement.
In the evening session, top seed Nitu, the reigning national champion, had no trouble sailing past Germany’s Maxi Klotzer. Similar was the case of Sakshi, who defeated China’s Lu Xia to make the last-four stage.
India had won just one bronze medal in the previous edition of the event and the country has not won a gold in this event since 2011. Over 150 boxers from 38 countries are competing in the event, being held in India for the first time.