Indian boxer Sonia Lather (57kg) settled for a silver medal at the AIBA Women’s World Championships after going down to top seed Alessia Mesiano of Italy in a hard-fought summit clash here today.
The lone Indian boxer to make the medal rounds, Sonia lost 1-2 but her silver ensured that India did not return empty-handed after what was a throughly disappointing campaign overall.
The 24-year-old from Haryana was off the blocks confidently and managed to rattle Mesiano in the opening round with her precisely-placed combination punches.
However, the Italian, who was a bronze-medallist in the previous edition, kept her composure and counter-attacked well in the next three rounds.
Sonia, a former Asian Championships silver-medallist, found it tough to manoeuvre after Mesiano started engaging her from close range, leaving very little room for the Indian to launch her jabs.
Sonia could not counter Mesiano’s tactics and was caught by surprise when she was struck by some telling straight punches from Mesiano, who stepped up the tempo in the third and fourth rounds.
Sonia’s medal aside, it was a disappointing performance by India and a gold medal evaded the team for the third successive edition.
India’s last gold at the prestigious tournament came in 2010 when M C Mary Kom had finished on top in the 48kg category to clinch her fifth world title.
Mary Kom (51kg), who was christened ‘The Magnificent Mary’ by the world body for her feats at the tournament, could only go till as far as the second round this time.
The low medal count aside, none from the country could qualify for the Rio Games in the three Olympic categories of 51kg, 60kg, 75kg.
In the 2014 edition in South Korea, India had won two silver medals through Sarjubala Devi (48kg) and Saweety (81kg), both of whom lost in the quarterfinals this time.