Amit, Nikhat, Meena Kumari strike gold at Strandja Memorial Boxing

New Delhi, Feb 19:

Asian Games gold-medallist Amit Panghal (49kg) Tuesday claimed a second successive gold at the Strandja Memorial Tournament, in which India’s women boxers also scripted history with a couple of maiden top finishes in Sofia, Bulgaria.
The Armyman from Haryana pulled off a dominating 5-0 triumph over Kazakhstan’s Temirtas Zhussupov, who was left with a bleeding forehead at the end of the final bout.
Former junior world champion Nikhat Zareen and Meena Kumari Devi became the first set of Indian women boxers to notch up gold medals at the prestigious tournament, which is into its 70th edition.
In all, India signed off with three gold, a silver, and three bronze medals in this edition of the event, which marks the beginning of the European boxing calendar.
Zareen, a multiple-time national medallist, claimed a 5-0 win in the 51kg category finals against Filipino Irish Magno, while Devi got the better of Aira Villegas 3-2, also from the Philippines, in the bantamweight (54kg) summit clash.
The previous best by an Indian woman boxer at the event was the silver won by the legendary M C Mary Kom last year.
“I dedicate this medal to the martyrs of the Pulwama terror attack. It was a very sad day for us as a country,” Zareen told PTI over the phone from Sofia referring to last week’s terrorist attack that killed 40 CRPF personnel in Jammu and Kashmir.
However, Manju Rani (48kg) settled for a silver after going down to another Filipino in Josie Gabuco in a split 2-3 verdict.
In a commanding performance, Zareen out-maneuvered Magno with a rock solid defence. Although the bout seemed closer than the final score-line, Zareen pulled it off by denying her rival a clear shot.
“My entire thought process in the bout was to never give up. My opponent had beaten Pinki Jangra in the first round and I just wanted to prove that I could get the better of her,” Zareen said. (PTI)