Indian boxer Pooja Rani has just been knocked out of the World Championships being held at Astana, following her loss to Britain’s Savannah Marshall in the round of 16 in the 75kg category of the tournament.
The defending Commonwealth Games gold medalist Savannah snatched an early advantage when all three judges declared the first round 10:9 in her favour. In both the ensuing set too, she repeated the same feat to advance to a tally of 30-27 over a floundering Pooja.
Pooja’s 2nd round ouster of Ukranian pugilist Mariya Borusta on Friday had foretold of a different outcome than what has just taken place at the Kazakh capital. Her current 0-3 loss to the Britisher effectively means that the Indian women boxers’ chase to clinching a 2016 Olympics berth comes to a close, with Mary Kom and Sarita Devi already suffering defeats on Saturday at their respective 51kg and 60kg categories.
Mary had an unceremonious exit via her defeat to Germany's Azize Nemani, while her fellow Manipuri Sarita lost to Victoria Torres of Mexico, thereby making Pooja the only remaining prospect for India at the Women’s World Championships to reach the requisite last four stage in order to qualify for Rio 2016 Olympics.
A discipline which fetched coveted Bronze medals for India in successive Olympics – Vijender Singh in Beijing 2008 and Mary Kom in London 2012 – as it stands, boxing only finds one representative in Shiva Thapa to compete under the national flag when the Games finally set sail this summer.
More to follow.