Delhi pugilists make presence felt, assure three bronze

Three Delhi boxers have assured themselves of medals at the 13 th Senior Women's National Boxing Championship in Guwahati, on Tuesday by winning their quarterfinal matches on Tuesday. Heena Tokas advanced in the light welterweight (64 kg) category with a 22-19 victory over Anita Rani of Punjab, Geeta Solanki beat G Sujatha in the bantamweight (54 kg) category while featherweight (57kg) Savita Rawat edged past Nandan Tiwari on countback after the scores were tied 7-7 after four rounds. There was disappointment however for Shabana, who went down 14-9 in the flyweight category to Toniabala Chanu of Arunachal Pradesh.

Regardless how they fare in the subsequent matches, Delhi have given a good account of themselves with three of the six member contingent at least winning a bronze. Coach Dalvir Singh who is accompanying the side in his first national tournament was more than satisfied with the result so far. "The performance of the squad must not be measured just by the medal haul but also by the fact that a couple of the girls had advanced with wins over tougher opponents.

Both Heena and Shabana beat opponents from Haryana in the previous round. Both their opponents were expected to win medals in the nationals so our performance is commendable," he said.

Coach Dalvir was also heartened by the fight shown by the girls. Both Tokas and Rawat were trailing going into the final round of their quarter-final matches but turned things around in the last two minutes.

Savita was trailing 5-2 before overcoming that three point gap while Heena was down by one, 14-13, in a hard-hitting bout before winning the final round 9-5.

The medals will not be the maiden ones for the boxers. Tokas who represented India in the Youth World Championships has a bronze medal from last time around while Solanki won a silver two years back. With a medal assured the boxers are looking forward to their next matches.

Heena in particular is hopeful of winning her next bout to assure herself of a chance to be part of the national camp when it is called in December. "Last time around I got a call up but I did not go because I had my Board Exams around the same time. This time I don't want to miss that opportunity," said Tokas, currently a first year student at Maitreyi College.

Jangra avenges defeat

In what was the highlight of the day however, Railways boxer and team captain Pinky Jangra overcame former two time national champion Van Lal Duati of Mizoram, who incidentally held a two nil record against her. But Pinky was determined to make amends and she did eventually.

After a slow start in the first round (2-1) Jangra launched into the veteran boxer with some decisive offence. Her lightening fast combinations opened up a 7-2 gap by the end of the second round.

She maintained the lead owing to some controlled aggression in the final two rounds of play and did not allow Duati many counter attack opportunities. She finally made her place in the round of four with a comprehensive 11-5 victory on points.

"I am very happy with my performance today. We have fought quite a few times in the past and she (Duati) is well aware of my game, therefore I did things differently trying to puzzle her with my strategy. I was not too aggressive, but at the same time tried to set the pace of the game with swift ring movement. My tactics paid off and I am happy to have won the game", expressed the Haryana girl.

Incidentally before leaving for the nationals, Jangra had mentioned that her target for the Nationals would not be medal but a win over the Mizo boxer, in order to be fearless while facing her at the upcoming national camp.

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