India Open: Mary, Sarita lead hosts’ gold rush

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GUWAHATI, May 24: Six-time world champion MC Mary Kom and the seasoned L Sarita Devi spearheaded India’s gold rush at the second India Open boxing tournament, which concluded on Friday.
Asian Games gold medalist Amit Panghal thwarted a spirited challenge from giant killer Sachin Siwach with a well-calculated display to clinch the gold by a split 4-1 verdict in the highly-competitive 52kg men’s category.
Overall, India swept the medals in four men’s categories (52kg, 81kg, 91kg and +91kg) and three in women’s (51kg, 57kg and 75kg) to conclude their campaign with 12 of the 18 gold medals up for grabs.
India, who had bagged six gold medals in the inaugural edition in New Delhi last year, thus doubled their gold count in the continental meet that witnessed a depleted field with a no-show from Uzbekistan.
World championship medallist Sarita Devi won her first gold in three years beating Simranjit Kaur 3-2 by virtue of a split decision.
Making her debut in 60kg category, Simranjit, a World Championship bronze medallist and Asian Championship silver medallist, impressed in the first round with some telling blows.
But Sarita Devi did not lose ground and fought back with a counter-attacking display as she celebrated the win looking upwards, dedicating the gold to her mother Laishram Khomthonbi, who passed away last year.
“This gold belongs to my mother. I lost my dad early and my mother made me the boxer that I’m now. This gold has come after a long time. I’m missing her very much at this moment,” Sarita got emotional as she spoke about her mother, who died after suffering from cancer.
Sarita Devi, who won a bronze at the Asian Championship earlier this year en route to her eighth medal in the continental meet, last won a gold at the 2016 South Asian Games in Shillong. (PTI)