News Karnataka
Friday, January 27 2023

Boxer Sonia enters World Championship final; Simranjit settles for bronze

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New Delhi: India got 50 percent of its script going right and, following the footsteps of five-time World Champion M.C. Mary Kom, young Sonia Chahal stormed into the final of the 57 kg class, while Simranjit Kaur had to satisfy herself with the bronze in the 10th World Women’s Boxing Championships at the K.D. Jhadav Hall here on Friday, November 23.

Sonia won a unanimous decision, beating North Korea’s Jo Son Hwa, but Simranjit will feel hurt, having to satisfy with the bronze medal after a brave semifinal against China’s Dou Dan, who had a split decision going in her favour (4:1).

There was hardly anything that separated the two Indians. Both took their fights to their opponents and landed thunderous punches. If at all there was any difference, Sonia began slowly while Simranjit exploded right from the first bell.

In the Sonia-Hwa bout, the first round proved to be evenly matched despite Sonia hitting the groove in the final seconds of the round.

In the second, the Indian put a lot of pressure on her opponent to seize control but the North Korean adapted to the situation quickly and managed to duck efficiently. Yet, the two had almost an equal exchange of punches.

It was the third round which changed the complexion completely. The Indian, using a flurry of rights and lefts and excellent left jabs opened up scoring avenues.

Her excellent rights towards the close must have impressed the judges so much that the verdict had turned out to be 5:0, all in favour of the Indian.

“I am really happy. I came up with a good strategy. She was charging at me, particularly in the second round, and I kept a good distance,” said the World Championship debutant Sonia.

“My plan was to go for broke in the last and I managed to do that,” added Sonia, who had beaten Hwa for the second time in her career.

In Saturday’s final, Sonia will now meet Germany’s Ornella Gabriele Wahner, who outpunched the Netherland’s Jemyma Betrian 5:0.

Meanwhile, Simranjit, keeping her close guard, stayed behind and punched her way against the Chinese whenever she got the opening in the first round.

Dan, despite swinging hard at her rival, couldn’t get past the Ludhiana girl’s defence.

The young Indian did well in the initial stages of the second round but the Chinese imploded and inched her way surely.

She was able to land her punches on the scoring areas and returned to her blue corner on a high at the end of it.

But Simrajit bounced back with full determination and displayed it amply in the final round. The Punjab debutant was all over the Chinese and it gave an impression that she was gaining ground but only to fall short with a 1:4 (27-30, 30-27, 27-30, 27-30, 28-29) loss and end her campaign.

“I was slow in the first but picked up well in the second. In the third, I went for a full attack as advised by my coaches,” said Simranjit, obviously disappointed at the decision.

“It was my first outing in the Worlds and I am happy I could win a bronze medal,” she added.

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