The indomitable Nikhat Zareen added a Commonwealth Games light flyweight (50kg) title to her bulging trophy cabinet in Birmingham on Sunday. Nikhat, who is on a winning spree since the nationals last year, asserted her dominance over Northern Ireland’s Carly Mc Naul, as she punched her way to a comprehensive 5-0 win in her maiden CWG appearance.
Nikhat started off the year by clinching a gold at the prestigious Strandja Memorial tournament, before going on to become a world champion.
The Telangana boxer, who dropped from 52kg to 50kg for the CWG, glided around the ring, landing hooks and tight jabs at will. Her defence was equally impressive. Such was her dominance that when the nine minutes ended, there was no doubt which way the decision would go.
Indian boxers made it three out of three golds on the day as young Nitu Ghanghas (48kg) and Amit Panghal (51kg) reigned supreme. The India pugilists will return with seven medals from Birmingham, two less than the previous edition.
Meanwhile, Olympic silver medallist Ravi Kumar Dahiya, star woman grappler Vinesh Phogat and 19-year-old wrestler Naveen claimed gold medals as the Indian juggernaut gathered pace on the shoulder of the mighty wrestlers, as athletes Avinash Sable and Priyanka Goswami broke new ground at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on Saturday.
Fellow wrestlers Pooja Sihag and Pooja Gehlot bagged bronze medals in their respective weight divisions while in lawn bowls, the Men’s Fours, who emulated their women counterparts by reaching the final, had to be satisfied with a silver medal as they lost to Northern Ireland in the summit clash.
The Indian medal haul has been going at a slow but steady pace in the absence of shooting and archery and some unexpected performances in table tennis and badminton got a leg-up with the wrestlers adding three more gold to the three they won on Friday. India are now placed fifth in the table behind Australia, England, Canada and New Zealand.
Boxer Jaismine lost in the semifinal and had to be satisfied with a bronze medal in the women’s Lightweight (over 57kg-60kg) as did Muhammed Hasamuddin in Men’s Featherweight (over 54kg-57kg) as he lost to Joseph Commey of Ghana 1-4 on points in the semifinals. Three boxers, world champion Nikhat Zareen, Nitu and Amit Panghal made it to the final and will be hoping to add more gold to the Indian tally.
The five medals in wrestling, two in athletics, two in boxing, and one in lawn bowls boosted India’s tally to 36 — 12 gold, 11 silver, and 13 bronze with many more set to be added in the next two days.
The day belonged to the wrestlers, especially Ravi Dahiya, Vinesh and Naveen, who bagged three gold medals on Saturday.
Dahiya, a three-time Asian champion and a bronze medallist in World Championship, outclassed his Nigerian opponent Welson Ebikewenimo 10-0 on points in the Men’s Freestyle 57 kg final. He started cautiously but got into his own after the referee gave him a warning for being too defensive. He claimed eight points in the next two minutes to seal victory.
Vinesh Phogat was also impressive in her win. The experienced wrestler completed a hat-trick of gold medals at the Commonwealth Games, by beating Sri Lanka’s Chamodya Keshani Maduravalage Don in the women’s 53 kg final.
Earlier, Priyanka Goswami and Avinash Sable started the day for India with two unexpected silver medals. Priyanka became the first Indian woman race walker to win a silver medal in the Commonwealth Games when she finished second behind her Australian opponent in the women’s 10 km walk.
Sable was even more awesome as he beat the Kenyan hegemony in the men’s 3000m steeplechase, becoming the first non-Kenyan to win the medal at the Commonwealth Games since 1994. He finished the race in 8:11.15 between two Kenyans.
Indian lawn bowlers continued to make history as the Men’s Fours added a silver to the historic gold medal won by the Women’s Fours a couple of days ago. The quartet of Chandan Kumar Singh, Dinesh Kumar, Navneet Singh, and Sunil Bahadur put up a good fight but went down 5-18 to Northern Ireland at the Royal Leamington Spa. (PTI)