Reigning Commonwealth Games champion Vikas Krishan and 2014 CWG bronze-medallist Pinki Rani put up a brilliant display as they led seven more Indian boxers to the finals at the 13th South Asian Games in Kathmandu on Sunday.
While Sparsh (52kg), Varinder (60kg) and Narender (+91kg) were the other boxers to reach the summit clash from the men, all the three women — Pinki Rani (51kg), Sonia Lather (57kg) and Manju Bamboriya (64kg) — cruised into the finals. The only setback for India was the defeat of Sachin in 81kg.
With eight Indian boxers having already sealed their final places on Saturday, India will now have a total of 15 boxers aiming for the gold medal.
Vikas continued his comeback in style as he dominated the 69kg semi-final bout against Nepal’s Bikash Lama whom he trounced 5-0. Bangladesh’s Chakma Sura Krishna proved no match for Varinder Singh in 60kg as the Indian easily pummelled him into submission, notching up a 5-0 win.
Sparsh Kumar (52kg) also impressed in his bout with local hope Tej Bahadur Deuba and hardly broke a sweat in recording a 5-0 victory. In the super heavyweight category, India had no trouble as Narender brushed aside the challenge of Sri Lanka’s Addurakaram Rallage Buwaneka Eranda 5-0.
Sachin Kumar was the only one from the Indian boxing contingent who failed to reach the final. Sachin suffered a cut in the first round of his 81kg bout against Nepal’s Ganesh Pradhan and then bowed out 2-3 in a split verdict in a gritty contest.
Among the women, Pinki Rani dashed the hopes of Pakistan’s Aziz Razia Bano with a solid flurry of punches that gave her a 5-0 win to enter the 51kg final. Both Sonia Lather (57kg) and Manju Bamboriya (64kg) were at their aggressive best and the referee had to stop their respective bouts in the second round against Pakistan’s Mehreen and Perveen Rukhsana.
The finals will be played over two days. On Monday, India’s Kalaivani (48kg), Shiksha (54kg), Parveen (60kg) from among women and Vinod Tanwar (49kg), Sachin (56kg), Manish Kaushik (64kg), Ankit Khatana (75kg) and Gaurav Chauhan (91kg) from among men will be fighting for the gold.