Birmingham CWG: Boxers punch ahead, three to fight for gold
Reigning world champion Nikhat Zareen and Amit Panghal were among the three Indian boxers who entered the finals, while Jaismine Lamboria settled for bronze, at the Commonwealth Games here on Saturday.
Nikhat stormed into the final of women’s 50kg after outclassing England’s Stubley Alfia Savannah 5-0. Panghal (51kg), too, displayed his class as he reached his second consecutive CWG final.
Nitu Ghanghas (48kg) also remained on course for a gold in her maiden appearance.
But another debutant, Jaismine (60kg), had to be satisfied with a bronze as she went down to Gemma Paige Richardson of England via a 2-3 split verdict.
Nikhat started the semifinal on a confident note and dominated all three rounds to emerge the winner in the lop-sided bout.
As expected, the 26-year-old Indian was in lead after the opening round with all the five judges ruling it in her favour, and it went on similar lines in the ensuing two rounds.
Panghal, who is vying to win the yellow metal after his silver in the last edition, came from behind to beat an aggressive Patrick Chinyemba of Zambia with a 5-0 unanimous decision win.
Nitu, on the other hand, prevailed over Canada’s Priyanka Dhillon as she notched a RSC (Referee Stops Contest) win in the minimum weight category.
Trio enter semis
Lakshya Sen recorded another comfortable win but P V Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth had to work hard to enter the badminton semifinals.
World No. 10 Sen beat Mauritius’ Julien Georges Paul 21-12, 21-11 after Sindhu and Srikanth struggled past Malaysia’s Goh Wei Jin and England’s Toby Penty in women’s and men’s singles quarter finals to stay on course for individual medals.
Sindhu, who had won a bronze and silver in the last two editions, registered a come-from-behind 19-21, 21- 14, 21-18 win over Goh, ranked 60th, to enter her third successive semifinals at the CWG.
Srikanth, too, was far from convincing during his 21-19, 21-17 win over the left-handed Penty, ranked 54th in the world.
The 20-yearold Sen will next face Jia Heng Teh, while Srikanth will look to extract revenge on Malaysia’s Ng Tze Yong, who had defeated him in the mixed team final.
Sindhu, on the other hand, will have to get past Singapore’s world No. 18 Jia Min Yeo to inch closer to a maiden gold. The Indian had beaten her at the 2019 French Open.
Young Aakarshi Kashyap’s debut ended with a 10-21, 7-21 defeat to Scotland’s Kristy Gilmour, a silver and bronze medallist in 2014 and 2018 editions respectively.
Sindhu looks shaky
Sindhu looked slightly shaky against Goh, whom she had defeated in two tight games in the mixed team final.
Goh’s attacking prowess was once again on display as she made the Indian work hard in the opening game.
The 27-year-old from Hyderabad had a two-point cushion in the mid-game interval but Goh managed to turn the tables with her better display in the second half of the first game to take a 1-0 lead in the match.
A vastly experienced Sindhu, however, got back her bearing soon as the duo engaged in some superb rallies with the Indian managing to grab a three-point advantage at the break.
Sindhu, ranked world No. 7, extended her lead to 19-14 and soon roared back in the contest.
The mixed doubles pair of Dipika Pallikal and Saurav Ghosal suffered a 0-2 loss to New Zealand’s Joelle King and Paul Coll in the squash semi-final.
The Indian duo lost 7-11, 4-11 and missed out on a spot in the final of the event. Dipika and Saurav will play for the bronze medal on Sunday.
The Indian men’s doubles pair of Velavan Senthilkumar and Abhay Singh also exited losing to Ng Eain Yow and Yuen Chee Wern of Malaysia.