*Nikhat with her World Championships belt and gold medal at the Mahindra IBA Women's World Boxing Championships 2023
New Delhi, 28 March: The boxing federation of India (BFI) on Monday hailed the performance of its pugilists, as the country had best ever campaign in 17 years finishing with four golds at the Mahindra IBA Women’s World Boxing Championship which concluded at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex here last evening.
Nitu Ghanghas (48kg), Nikhat Zareen (50kg), Lovlina Borgohain (75) and Saweety Boora (81kg) were the champions in their respective categories in this Rs 20 crore prize money competition. Each gold medal winner. Each gold medal winner received USD 100,000 (Rs 82.7 Lakhs) as prize money
Each silver medalist took home a cheque of USD 50,000 (Rs 41.4 lakhs) while the Bronze medalists got USD 25000 (Rs 20.7 Lakhs) each
This is the second time in the Women's world boxing championship that India has won four gold medals. The first occasion was in 2006 when Mary Kom, Sarita Devi, Jenny Lalremliani, and Lekha K.C won gold for the country.
"We are extremely proud of all pugilists that have scripted history with their gold medals. Securing four gold medals at home in front of such a passionate crowd is a fabulous achievement. The performances of these pugilists will undoubtedly inspire young girls from the country to win medals and elevate Indian boxing to greater heights. "said BFI president Ajay Singh
"Everyone at BFI would like to congratulate Nikhat, Nitu, Lovlina, and Saweety on their remarkable accomplishments and we are looking forward to seeing more of the same from them in the upcoming Asian Games,” he added
Last evening reigning World champion Nikhat (50kg) defeated two-time Asian champion Nguyem Thi Tam of Vietnam to win gold for a second consecutive year at the tournament while the Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Lovlina (75kg) claimed her maiden Worlds gold with a 5-2 win on points against two-time Commonwealth Games medallist Caitlin Parker of Australia.
With this victory, Nikhat became only the second Indian female pugilist to win two golds at the World Championships alongside Mary Kom who claimed a record six gold medals in the competition.
"I am extremely delighted to become World Champion for the second time, especially in a different category. Today’s bout was my toughest in the entire tournament and since this was the last match of the tournament I wanted to utilize my energy completely and leave everything in the ring. It was a rollercoaster of a bout with both of us getting warnings as well as eight counts and it was very close. My strategy in the last round was to go all out and attack and I felt very happy when my hand was lifted as the winner. This medal is for India and for everyone who has supported us throughout the tournament,” said Nikhat after her victory
“I feel happy on becoming the World Champion and win the gold for my country. As the opponent was strong we changed the strategy for the bout according to her gameplay. Our plan was to fight the first two rounds on the front foot and then play counter-attacks in the last round from distance. I had won bronze in 2018 and 2019 so it feels good to change the colour of the medals to gold,” opined Lovlina
Talking about her performance in the championship Nitu said “I am very happy after winning the gold medal. I fell short in my quest for the gold last year so we worked on the mistakes and won it this time round in front of the home support. Having discussed with my coaches yesterday I had decided to be aggressive since the first round today to get the scores in my favour. I have been working hard for many years and this medal means a lot to me,”
“I am thrilled after fulfilling my dream of becoming the World Champion. The bout went well and I was able to execute our planning perfectly. My performances in the tournament got better as the bouts progressed with my body also responding well. I want to thank the fans for their constant love and support,” was Saweety's reaction.
Meanwhile Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., India's leading SUV manufacturer, today handed over its flagship SUV, the All-New Thar to Nikhat Zareen, the winner of the ‘Mahindra Emerging Boxing Icon’ award. The Emerging Boxing Icon award is part of Mahindra's commitment to women in sports and celebrating their achievements. In addition to the award, Mahindra will also launch the "Road to Gold" initiative in association with the BFI. The initiative aims to capture the individual journeys of the boxers as a video series, showcasing the hard work, dedication, and perseverance that goes into achieving success.