India's most decorated boxer MC Mary Kom defeated Northern Ireland's Kristina O'Hara 5-0 to win the coveted gold in the 45-48kg category at the ongoing Commonwealth Games.
This medal took India's tally to 43, with Mary clinching boxing's first gold for India in this edition. With this win, Mary -- at 35 and a mother of three -- became the first Indian female boxer to win gold at the Commonwealth Games.
Mary dominated O'Hara right from the beginning of the first round -- there are three rounds of three minutes each -- mixing caution with aggression as she tried to size her opponent up. The second round was more of an equal competition, with O'Hara trying to showcase good defence and composure despite being far lesser experienced than Mary, in what was the biggest bout of her life.
The first half of the final round focused more on aggression for Mary, as she calmly tackled her opponent . O'Hara had a height advantage but Mary's solid defence in the second half meant that she could land very few punches on the Indian. Even as the competition became close towards the end of the round, Mary won unanimously in the end, in what was her maiden Commonwealth Games. She had lost out in a berth at the 2014 Games after losing to Pinki Rani at the National Championships.
Mary is a five-time World Champion, an Olympic bronze medalist and has also won the Asian Championship five times. She is the only Indian boxer to medal at this edition of the Games after Pinki Rani, L Sarita Devi and Lovlina Borgohain failed to reach the medal rounds.
Enduring multiple breaks and distractions in her career that would have stopped most athletes in their tracks, the 35-year old has continued to lead from the front. "I don't know how I pull it off sometimes," she had said, after her Asian Championship gold in November last year. Mary had twice put her career on hold in 2008 and 2012 after the birth of her children. In a sport where competitors deprive their own bodies to shred a few grams of body weight, Mary has twice ballooned and reduced her body weight.
"Quite simply she is a one in a generation athlete," Dr. Nikhil Latey, a physiotherapist who worked with Mary for six years until 2016, had said. Latey had trained with scores of elite Indian Olympic athletes, yet Mary stood out. "Mary has the best recovery compared to any other athlete I have worked with. That is just a God given gift she is born with," he had said.
Amit Panghal wins silver in 46-49 kg category
Amit Panghal won silver in his maiden Games after losing to England's Yafai Galal in the final of the 46-49 kg category. Amit looked visibly tired in the second and third round after dominating the first round. Galal eventually won the bout 3-1 by a split decision in what was an extremely close contest.
The 22-year-old had won bronze at the Asian Championships last year and also took part in the world championships, where he lost in the quarterfinals.
Aggressive Gaurav Solanki lands Gold
Gaurav Solanki won India's first gold in the men's boxing event at this edition after an emphatic performance against Northern Ireland's Brendan Irvine in the 52 kg category as his all-out aggression proved too hot to handle for Irvine. Solanki won the final 4-1 on a split decision.
Solanki used his long reach to good effect and pushed Irvine to be on the defensive from the outset as his high block meant that Irvine struggled to land his punches whenever he tried to be aggressive.
Kaushik wins silver after losing to home-favourite Garside
Playing in front of a partisan and vociferous home crowd, Harry Garside thrived on the energy from the crowd as he tried to tire Manish Kaushik out in the first two rounds before trying to attack more in the third round. He eventually edged an extremely close bout 3-2 in a split decision.
The 22-year-old Kaushik hails from Devsar in Bhiwani district of Haryana and won a gold medal in the light weight division at the 2017 national championships, where he defeated the highly rated Shiva Thapa. He is currently employed with the Indian Army.
Gold for Vikas in 75kg, Satish grabs silver
Vikas Krishan Yadav became the third Indian boxer to win a gold medal at the Gold Coast games as he beat Cameroon's Wilfried Dieudonne by a 5-0 unanimous decision in the final of the men's 75kg event on Saturday. In the 91kg final, Frazer Clarke won by a unanimous decision, meaning Satish Kumar had to settle for the silver medal.
Vikas' victory ensured he became the first Indian men's boxer to win gold medals at both the Commonwealth and Asian Games. The 24-year-old from Singhwa Khas village in Hissar, Harayana began his senior career in the men's lightweight category (60kg) and won the Asian Games gold medal in 2010. He subsequently moved up two weight divisions to the welterweight (69kg) winning a bronze medal at the World Championships in 2011. Following the 2012 Olympics, Yadav moved up to middleweight, winning a bronze medal at the 2014 Asian Games.
In the 91kg final, Frazer Clarke won by a unanimous decision, meaning Satish Kumar had to settle for the silver medal.