Khelo India 2019: World Youth champion Shashi in quarters, ousts current champion Sakshi
Pune, Jan 14: In a battle of heavyweights, former world youth champion Shashi Chopra won a close battle against current champion Sakshi Choudhary to advance in the U-21 feather-weight section (57kg) at the Khelo India Youth Games 2019 boxing competition on Monday.
Interestingly, both represent Haryana and have more in common. While Shashi is from Hissar, Sakshi belongs to Bhiwani.
Their styles are also quite similar and according to Haryana coach Vikram Dhull, the fight amongst these potential gold medallists should have been the final. Instead, they faced each other in the first round here.
Shashi, being the more experienced and taller than her opponent, boxed like a pro right from the first round, while Sakshi tried to overpower her with speed and aggression. However, in the end it was the former champion, who moved into the quarter-finals with a 3-2 verdict.
“It definitely should have been a final. Of course, I took it like a final, in fact, I play every match like a final,” said Shashi, who won gold at the World Youth Boxing Championship in Guwahati in 2017.
"Sakshi is a strong boxer and we both have a similar style, but today she wasn’t using her left hand much and I grabbed the opportunity. She tried to break my rhythm by changing her style and moving closer, but I managed to keep her at a distance."
Echoed Haryana coach Dhull said, “Sakshi was not using both her hands effectively while Shashi was brilliant. Both pugilists were in top form and had just returned from an India camp. It wasn’t Sakshi’s day.”
Maharashtra’s U-17 boys advanced with easy wins. Akash Gorkha defeated Manipur’s Laishangbam Singh 4-1 while Laisharam Singh got the better of Mizoram's Lalnunzira 5-0.
Meanwhile, Akola’s Sohail Ramzam crashed out of the tournament with a dislocated shoulder during his light welter (63kg) bout against Arjun Sharma of Manipur.
“I immediately got medical treatment and I have been advised to check with an X-ray as well,” he said.