Birthday boy Shiva steals show on mismanaged opening day of boxing nationals
Guwahati, Dec 8 (IANS) Birthday boy and local favourite Shiva Thapa’s thumping 5-0 win over Arunachal Pradesh’s Gumin Gara in the opening bout of the senior men’s National Championship was the lone highlight on Thursday, which was marred by several incidents of mismanagement by the organisers.
While the second bout started as late as 6 p.m., the organisers claimed that the delay was due to the late participation of four uninvited teams, taking the total number of teams to 37, while some other teams had to battle fog and a tragic accident near the Assam-Bengal border on Tuesday night.
“Some of the teams came at around 1 p.m. on Thursday, and we had to oblige them considering they travelled from far-flung places. So we had to again recreate the draws which resulted in a delay of so many hours,” the organiser told IANS.
“Moreover the weather conditions, specially dense fog in many parts of the country delayed the arrival of many of the teams,” he added.
Meanwhile, opening the senior men’s national championship in his home turf at the Karmabir Nabin Chandra Bordoloi Indoor Stadium at Sarusajai Sports Complex here, Thapa was at his devastating best against an opponent who did not have the kind of experience the two-time Olympian boasts of.
The 23-year-old did not break sweat as he outpunched the Arunachali pugilist to start with a bang in the men’s Lightweight (60kg) category.
Earlier, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal declared the championship open which was followed by a cultural programme.
Commenting on the ongoing tournament, which is the first major event organised in two years by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI), Sonowal said: “This tournament is a baby step towards our goal of making Guwahati the sports capital of the country. In the days to come, we will have many tournaments of such stature.”
Listing pugilists of international repute from the region like Mary Kom, Shiva Thapa, Laishram Sarita Devi and Devendro Singh, Sonowal said: “Boxing has given identity to India at the international level, including the Olympics.”
Nearly 600 boxers from 37 teams are participating in the competition, which will also serve as the selection platform for the national boxing camps.
Meanwhile, BFI President Ajay Singh, who was also present on the opening day, said 40 medallists from all the 10 weight categories will qualify for the men’s national camp, while additionally a number of promising talents will also be selected, taking the rough estimate to 60-70 boxers.
“The top 40 will be selected. In addition to that we will see which boxers have shown promise and lost in the early rounds. It could be 60-70 boxers.
“We will be on the lookout for talented boxers, even those who do not win medals,” he said.
(Tridib Baparnash can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)