Belgrade International Boxing: Sumit, Nikhat strike gold
The fit-again duo of Sumit Sangwan (91kg) and Nikhat Zareen (51kg) was among the three gold-medallists in India's stupendous campaign at the 56th Belgrade International Boxing Tournament in Serbia.
Himanshu Sharma (49kg), who defeated Algeria's Mohammed Touareg 5-0 in his final bout, was the third top spot finisher last night as India ended the tournament with three gold, five silver and five bronze medals in all.
Continuing his fine comeback from a wrist injury, Sumit, an Asian silver-medallist, defeated Ecuador's Castillo Torres in a unanimous 5-0 verdict to claim the yellow metal. The 24-year-old later dedicated the triumph to his father Surender Sangwan.
"He has been my rock through everything, I dedicate this medal to my Bapu (father). All the hard work I had put in for the Commonwealth Games came in handy here after I missed out on that. My hand feels completely fine now," Sumit, who missed a trip to Gold Coast after going down in the trial, told PTI from Belgrade.
"This performance is a huge morale-booster for me and I am hoping to build on it in the coming months. The boxer from Ecuador I faced in the final was a tough opponent, very aggressive but I didn't allow him to connect," he added.
Former junior world champion Nikhat, also returning to action after recovering from a shoulder injury, notched up a 5-0 win over Greece's Koutsoeorgopoulou Aikaterini to pick up a morale-boosting gold.
"I am very satisfied with how I performed in this tournament. My shoulder is a bit stiff right now so it was by no means an easy campaign. The boxers from Russia and Serbia I fought were very muscular and physically it was draining," Nikhat said.
"My opponent in the semifinal Nina Radovanovic is a former professional boxer and she was very tough to fight. That bout took a lot out of me and my shoulder would need a bit of caring for once I am back," she added.
Surprisingly, the contingent did not have a single physio travelling with it for the tournament to take care of these niggles.
Signing off with silver medals among women were Jamuna Boro (54kg) and Ralte Lalfakmawii (+81kg). While Jamuna lost to local favourite Andjela Brankovic 1-4, Lalfakmawii went down 2-3 to Turkey's Demir Sennur.
In the men's draw, Laldinmawia (52kg), Varinder Singh (56kg) and Pawan Kumar (69kg) had to be content with silver medals.
Laldinmawia was beaten 0-5 by Korea's Kim Inkyn, while Varinder lost 2-3 to Brazillian Arilson Goncalves.
Pawan was also defeated in a split verdict, going down 1-4 to Croatia's Petar Cetinic.
Earlier, Narender (+91kg) had fetched a bronze in the men's competition.
In the women's competition, Rajesh Narwal (48kg), Priyanka Thakur (60kg), Rumi Gogoi (75kg) and Nirmala Rawat (81kg) had settled for bronze medals.