Guwahati: Mary Kom and L Sarita Devi spearheaded the host’s gold rush at the second India Open boxing tournament, which concluded here on Friday.
Amit Panghal thwarted a spirited challenge from Sachin Siwach to clinch 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 women’s categories (51kg, 57kg and 75kg) to conclude its campaign with 12 of the 18 gold medals up for grabs.
India, which had bagged six gold in the inaugural edition in New Delhi last year, thus doubled its gold count in the continental meet that witnessed a depleted field, with a no-show from Uzbekistan.
Sarita 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 impressed in the first round with some telling blows. But Sarita did not lose ground and fought back with a counter-attacking display. She celebrated the win by looking upwards, dedicating the gold to her mother Laishram Khomthonbi, who passed away last year.
“This gold belongs to my mom. 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 last won a gold at the 2016 South Asian Games in Shillong.
Mary saw off a valiant fight from Vanlal Duati of Mizoram to emerge winner in the 51kg weight category, by unanimous decision.
Nikhat Zareen and Jyoti took the bronze medals, making it an all-Indian finish in the podium. Home favourite Shiva Thapa avenged his last year’s semi-final defeat to defending champion Manish Kaushik to grab the 60kg gold in front of a boisterous crowd at the Karmabir Nabin Chandra Bordoloi Indoor Stadium.