Bhupendra Thapa celebrates with his gold medal after defeating India’s Manish Kaushik in the light welterweight (64 kg) final bout during the boxing competition of the 13th South Asian Games at the Karate Academy Hall in Satdobato, Lalitpur on Monday. (Right) Minu Gurung celebrates with her gold medal and the national flag after defeating India’s Shiksha in the bantamweight (54 kg) final. Photo: Bijaya Rai/ Republica
Thapa, Gurung end Nepal’s boxing glory wait
LALITPUR, Dec 10: Minu Gurung and Bhupendra Thapa Magar clinched gold medals on Monday ending Nepal’s twenty long years of wait for boxing glory.
Gurung overcame India’s Shiksha in bantamweight (54kg) category in the final bout to claim the first boxing gold for Nepal since 1999 South Asian Games, which was held in Kathmandu.
Gurung also became the first Nepali female boxer to win a gold medal at the mega sporting event of South Asia.
Thapa defeated India’s biggest household name in boxing, Manish Kaushik, in the light welterweight (64 kg) category to claim another gold for Nepal.
Thapa celebrated in style dancing for the fans after he downed the AIBA World Boxing Championships bronze medalist Kaushik.
Boxers Prakash Thapa Magar and Ram Chandra Thapa Magar had won the gold medals for Nepal in the eight SA Games. Since then, Nepal had only managed three silver medals in boxing.
Yet, it was a gold rush for India at the Karate Academy Hall in Satdobato as their dominance continued in the finals as well winning six gold medals in eight bouts.
Nepal’s Lalita Maharjan and Sangita Sunar also lost against Indian opponents to claim the silver medals.
Maharjan lost to Kalaivani in the light flyweight (48 kg) category final while Sunar fell to Praveen in lightweight (60kg) category.
India’s Vinod Tanwar, Sachin, Ankit Khatana and Gaurav Chauhan all claimed golds. Tanwar beat Tashi Wangdi of Bhutan in light flyweight (49kg) category, Sachin saw off Md Robin Mia of
Bangladesh in bantamweight (56kg) category, Khatana overwhelmed Dinesh Maduranga Pathirage of Sri Lanka in middleweight (75kg) category and Chauhan saw off Sanaullah of Pakistan in heavyweight (91 kg) final bouts.
After putting an end to the boxing gold drought, Nepal can hope for more glory on the concluding day as five more boxers will vie for the gold on Tuesday.
But the golds will be a tough task to earn by as four of them have to dig through the technical Indian walls that have ruled the ring the entire competition.
Of the total 16 golds to vie in the competition, India has reached the finals of 15 categories.
Sanil Shahi will face Varinder Singh, Mala Rai will meet Rani Pinki, Punam Rawal will battle against Manju Bamboriya and Anish Dawadi will vie against Narender in the finals.
Ganesh Pradhan is the only Nepali boxer to have defeated Indian opponent Sachin Kumar in the semis. He will take on Rumesh Sandakelum Wanni of Sri Lanka.