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Friday, December 04, 2020

From India’s win in boxing to the slip ups in hockey

India's performance in shooting, boxing and hockey during last week was irregular as they had mixed results.

Written by Vinay Siwach | New Delhi | Updated: May 6, 2017 8:56:05 am
hockey india, india hockey, indian hockey team, indian boxing, boxing india, wrestling india, sports news, sports, indian sports, indian express India failed to qualify for Sultan Azlan Shah Cup final. (Source: AP)

Three months ago, 15-year-old Shapath Bhardwaj finished 10th in the qualification round of men’s double trap event, missing the final round by four spots. But on Wednesday, he made it to his first ever double trap final at the ISSF Shotgun World Cup in Cyprus.

The teenager, who hails from Meerut, had made it to the national team at the age of 14, finished sixth in Cyprus but his rise in the last one year has been remarkable. Given he began shooting just three years ago and did not possess a gun back then, it is the sheer determination of the boy to reach the position where he is today. In his first ever World Cup final where is the youngest as well, he finished sixth. His two experienced teammates, Ankur Mittal and Sangram Dahiya failed to make it to the final round.

Another results that went India’s way during the last week were in boxing. At the Asian Boxing Championships in Tashkent, four Indian boxers made it to the semi-finals. It was not the result they expected after nine boxers out of 10 qualified for quarters.

And out of the four, two made it to the final as well. Shiva Thapa and Sumit Sangwan will have a chance to grab a gold medal. The boxers who had reached the semis have also qualified for World Championships. The ones who lost in quarters can also qualify if they win their qualification bout.

Thapa, who moved to the lightweight category last December only, showed why he is regarded as one of the top boxers in the country as he assured himself his third consecutive medal at Asian Championships. After suffering a cut on his forehead at the nationals in Guwahati, Thapa’s performance has been one to be highlighted. In the semis, he beat Rio Olympics bronze-medallist from Mongolia.

For Sangwan, who suffered an injury just before the nationals, this is one of the biggest wins. He missed the chance to go to Rio by a whisker and if he continues his form, we may see him emerge to top again.

But, it was a mixed for Indian hockey. Playing the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, India drew against Great Britain, lost to Australia and Malaysia, beat Japan and New Zealand but they only finished third after Great Britain made it to the finals with a better goal difference.

While this tournament’s result wasn’t a big one as it is only a curtain raiser to the long international tournament, it does reflect on India’s bench strength. The loss to Malaysia will hurt the most as a win with two-goal difference could have seen them in the final. But a bigger loss will be goalkeeper PR Sreejesh. The Wall was injured during the tournament and will be out of action for more than a month.

Barring Japan and Malaysia, other teams in competition sent their young, mostly experimental squad. But that doesn’t give India the reason to slip up the performance.

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