From the publishers of THE HINDU
VOL.33 :: NO.43 :: Oct. 28, 2010
Suranjoy Singh...“cuts and bruises do not hurt.”
With three golds and four bronzes, India emerged as the best team in the boxing competition of the Commonwealth Games. All three Indian finalists — Suranjoy Singh (52 kgs), Manoj Kumar (64 kgs) and Paramjeet Samota (plus-91 kgs) — were victorious.
Earlier, Amandeep Singh (49 kgs), Jai Bhagwan (60 kgs), Dilbag Singh (69 kgs) and Vijender Singh (75 kgs) won bronze medals by entering the semi-finals.
Although medal expectations in the Indian camp had been higher, the final tally was nevertheless impressive.
The semifinal rounds were a big disappointment for the home team as four boxers lost. The biggest shock was the loss of Olympic and World championship bronze medallist Vijender Singh, who lost to his English opponent Anthony Ogogo.
In the third round Vijender was leading 3-0 when he was penalised twice. The four points that Ogogo gained from these two penalties enabled him to win 4-3.
The star boxer later expressed his feelings in no uncertain manner. “I felt that the referee was unfair to me. My rival was repeatedly coming towards me and holding me and he too should have been penalised,” said Vijender.
He was of the opinion that though the national federation had tried its best to get the decision against him overturned, it did not happen. Perhaps if protests had been lodged earlier, when Dinesh Kumar and Manpreet Singh had got a raw deal, then the judges would have been more careful while judging Indian boxers, Vijender felt.
However, in the earlier round, Vijender provided one of the most memorable moments of the Games by knocking out Elias Nashivela of Nambia.
Manoj Kumar (red) in action during the light welterweight (64 kg) final.
Vijender first feinted with his right and just as Elias shifted his block, Vijender unleashed a tremendous left hook which hurled Elias a few feet and dumped him near the corner. The stunned Elias was unable to regain his feet and stayed down for the count.
One of the Indians who stole the limelight was Mayengbam Suranjoy Singh, the stocky little Manipuri nicknamed “Chhota Tyson” (Small Tyson) by his fellow boxers because of the resemblance between his style and that of the former world heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson.
In the 52 kg semifinal Suranjoy got the better of UK-trained Pakistani boxer Haroon Iqbal, brother of Amir Iqbal Khan, the WBA lightwelterweight world champion. Despite being shorter than his rival, Suranjoy was always on the attack and won 9-3.
Haroon, who had wanted to represent England but was not selected, felt vindicated after winning a medal.
At the end of the bout, Suranjoy's bruised face revealed the punishment that he himself had taken from his tough rival. But Suranjoy's post match comment indicated his mental strength. “Cuts and bruises do not hurt. What hurts is defeat,” he said.
Paramjeet Samota (blue) discomfits Tariq Abdul Haqq of Trinidad and Tobago during the super heavyweight (+91 kg) final.
In the final Suranjoy got a walk over from the injured Benson Njangiru of Kenya. Suranjoy's CWG gold was one more in the long list of honours he has bagged. His earlier medals include an Asian championship gold and a junior world championship bronze as the most prominent ones.
Northern Ireland did well and bagged three gold and two silver medals. The gold winners were European champion and Olympic bronze medallist Paddy Barnes in the 49 kg class, Patrick Gallagher (69 kgs) and Eamon O'Kane (75 kgs). In the 56 kg final, 30-year-old Manju Wanniarachchi gave Sri Lanka a boxing gold in the Commonwealth Games after 72 years when he defeated Sean McGoldrick of Wales. The boxers were tied 7-all at the end of three rounds but in the count-back Wanniarachchi was declared winner by 16-14.
Before the tournament it was interesting to note that many of the teams which were taking part saw India as the main rival. It was a clear indication of India's growing stature in the sport at the international level.
According to chief national coach G.S. Sandhu, boxing has become very popular in many countries and they are hiring top level foreign coaches to train their boxers. As a result, boxing has become a very technical sport and any coach who can make his boys master the methods can produce champions.
Light flyweight (49 kgs): Gold: Paddy Barnes (NIR), Silver: Jafet Uutoni (NAM), Bronze: Amandeep Singh (IND) and Waseem Muhammed (PAK).
Flyweight (52 kgs): Gold: Suranjoy Singh (IND), Silver: Benson Njangiru (KEN), Bronze: Haroon Iqbal (PAK) and Oteng Oteng (BOT).
Bantamweight (56 kgs): Gold: Manju Wanniarachchi (SRI), Silver: Sean McGoldrick (WAL), Bronze: Tirafalo Seoko (BOT) and Louis Bruno Julie (MRI).
Lightweight (60 kgs): Gold: Thomas Stalker (ENG), Silver: Josh Taylor (SCO), Bronze: Jai Bhagwan (IND) and Lamalito Moala (TON).
Light welterweight (64 kgs): Gold: Manoj Kumar (IND), Silver: Bradley Saunders (ENG), Bronze: Valentino Knowles (BAH) and Colin Louis (MRI).
Welterweight (69 kgs): Gold: Pat Gallagher (NIR), Silver: Callum Smith (ENG), Bronze: Dilbag Singh (IND) and Carl Held (BAH).
Middleweight (75 kgs): Gold: Eamon O'Kane (NIR), Silver: Anthony Ogogo (ENG), Bronze: K. Harding (WAL) and Vijender Singh (IND).
Light heavyweight (81 kgs): Gold: Callum Johnson (SCO), Silver: Thomas McCarthy (NIR), Bronze: Jermaine Asare (WAL) and Joshua Makonjo (KEN).
Heavyweight (91 kgs): Gold: Simon Vallily (ENG), Silver: Steven Ward (NIR), Bronze: Awusome Yekeni (GHA) and Stephen Simons (SCO).
Super heavyweight (plus-91 kgs): Gold: Paramjeet Samota (IND), Silver: Abdul Haqq Tariq (TRI), Bronze: B. Yepmou (CMR) and F.A. Junior (TON).
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