Five-time world champion M C Mary Kom (48kg) on Saturday clinched her third gold medal of the year, while Jyoti Gulia (51kg) picked up the country’s lone gold in the youth category of the Silesian Open Boxing Tournament for women in Gliwice, Poland.
India’s junior boxers also performed exceptionally well to claim 13 medals, six of them gold, while senior pro L Sarita Devi (60kg) ended with a bronze.
Mary Kom, returning to the ring after recovering from some niggles that kept her out of the Asian Games in Jakarta, was up against Kazakhstan’s Aigerim Kassanayeva and prevailed 5-0 with a fine tactical performance. Her other two gold medals this year came in the India Open in Delhi and the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast.
The 35-year-old former Olympic bronze-medallist deserved credit for having a rock solid defence to deny any clear shot to Kassanayeva.
The Manipuri, who is also a former Asian Games gold-medallist, took full advantage of her rival’s hesitation to launch attacks and went full throttle in the final three minutes to strike some good body blows.
In the youth competition, Jyoti, a former world champion and India’s only boxer to have qualified for next month’s Youth Olympic Games in Argentina, out-classed Poland’s Tatiana Pluta in just the second round of her final bout to clinch gold.
The 17-year-old connected some lusty right hooks and straight punches to force three standing eight counts on her rival, two of them in the opening three minutes.
By the time the third eight-count came about, the referee decided that the local favourite had taken enough of a thrashing and awarded the bout to Jyoti.
Former world champion Sarita, however, signed off with a bronze medal in the senior category.
Sarita, also a multiple-time Asian champion and a former Asian bronze-medallist, was joined by Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) and Pooja Rani (81kg) in the list of those whose campaign came to an end in the semifinals on Friday.
Sarita lost 0-5 to Kazakhstan’s Karina Ibragimova, a decision which the Indian contingent felt did not reflect fairly on the contest.
“It was a controversial decision. Sarita was clearly better but judges did not rule in her favour, even the crowd got behind her after the loss because everyone could see,” said one of the coaches travelling with the team.
Lovlina was beaten by Poland’s Karolina Koszewska in a split 1-4 verdict, also called “unfair” by the Indians.
Pooja too was defeated by a local favourite in Agata Kaczmarska, the decision being 2-3. But the team had no issues with that close call.
In the junior competition, the Indian team produced a terrific performance to sign off with 13 medals—six gold, six silver and a bronze.
Bharti (46kg), Tingmila Doungel (48kg), Sandeep Kaur (52kg), Neha (54kg), Arshi Khanam (57kg) and Komal (80kg) claimed top honours in their respective categories.