SPORT

Jai Bhagwan advances

Y.B. Sarangi

NEW DELHI: Host India had a mixed day on the opening day of the XXX Energy Drink Commonwealth boxing championship at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium here on Friday.

Jai Bhagwan outpunched Oratile Segokgo of Botswana 16-0 to reach the 60 kg quarterfinals, while young Balwinder Beniwal lost 5-14 to Richarno Colin of Mauritius in a 64 kg bout.

Adopting an attacking approach, Jai Bhagwan exhibited good footwork and delivered some well-executed punches to thwart his opponent. His consistency can be gauged from the fact that he led 7-0 in the first round and 12-0 in the second.

“I was a bit nervous at the start as I was boxing at home after a long time and did not know much about my rival. However, I tried to attack early and succeeded,” Jai Bhagwan, an Asian championship silver medallist, said.

Coach G.S. Sandhu praised Jai Bhagwan for not allowing Segokgo to make a comeback.

Too cautious

Nineteen-year-old Balwinder, playing his first major championship, was too cautious against Olympian Colin.

Colin's maturity was reflected in his game. With the right mix of aggression and caution, the Mauritian took a 4-1 lead in the first round and 9-2 in the next. In the final round, Balwinder's frantic efforts did him no good.

“He (Balwinder) could not concentrate, he could not settle down early. But this has not hurt us much. We are in the process of preparing for the Commonwealth Games and are learning our lessons,” Sandhu said.

Missing crowd support

Both Sandhu and Jai Bhagwan said they missed the support of the home crowd.

The spectators have not shown much interest in the event because of the stifling security measures. Needless security exercises and the lack of a proper system posed hurdles for the mediapersons.

Besides, the broadcasting of the event by Doordarshan was not up to the mark. For example, DD Sports channel suddenly stopped the telecast of Jai Bhagwan's fight when the bout was in the second round and started beaming archery.

The results: 56 kg: Michael Roberts (Sco) bt Revocatus Shomari (Tan) 12-3, M.D.K. Wanniarachchi (SL) bt Dayne Williams (NZ) 14-1; 60 kg: Josh Taylor (Sco) bt John Colin (Mri) 6-1; Jai Bhagwan (Ind) bt Oratile Segokgo (Bot) 16-0, Darren Edwards (Wal) bt Naser M. Mafuru (Tan) 18-0, Danny Phillips (Eng) bt Muhamad Ridwan (Sin) 9-1; 64 kg: Black Moses Mathenge (Ken) bt Valention Knowles (Bah) 8-2, Richarno Colin (Mri) bt Balwinder Beniwal (Ind) 14-5; Joseph M. Waselage (Tan) bt Bowyn Morgan (NZ) 10-3 .