Shillong, Nov 29: The 7th Elite Men’s National Boxing Championship completed the quarterfinal bouts at the SAI Indoor Hall here on Wednesday, with the top names going through to the last four-stage.
Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma paid a visit to interact with the boxers, watch a few of the exciting early fights and wish the pugilists the very best as the competition entered the crunch matches.
The championship, which will conclude on December 1, is being organised by the Meghalaya Boxing Association in collaboration with the Boxing Federation of India and sponsored by the Department of Sports and Youth Affairs.
“It is a happy and proud moment for us to host this championship in Shillong. Our government is giving a very strong push to support sports in general in our state by supporting sports associations, developing training facilities and hosting events like these,” Sangma said. “Challenges are there because we’re only starting with this. We will improve along the way and hopefully we will host international events.
The state government has the ambition of seeing a Meghalayan take part in the Olympics within the next few years. In pursuit of this goal, it has invested resources into its Elite and Super Elite Pathway Programme to test children for athletic ability and give those that show promise intensive training.
“It is very important that a scientific approach to talent identification and grooming of athletes is utilised and we need to make sure our youngsters are given opportunities to shine,” the Chief Minister said.
Speaking directly to the boxers, he said, “A team effort has made this tournament possible between the MBA, BFI and the Department. I hope you take happy memories away from Meghalaya.”
Sangma also met with top boxers Shiva Thapa and Amit Panghal, along with renowned boxers-turned-coaches from Meghalaya Torak Kharpran and Roshni Bhusal. He was also presented with a pair of signed boxing gloves by the MBA.
Also speaking on the occasion was the BFI’s Shri SK Shandil, who praised the hospitality and organisation of the championship. He also expressed hope that such an event would encourage more youth in the North East to take up the sport of boxing.
In the ring, the best 104 boxers across the 13 different weight categories battled it out in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
Early in the day, 2018 Asian Games champion Amit Panghal of Services won his flyweight 48-51kg fight by unanimous decision of the judges over Md Aarif of Jammu and Kashmir. It was a similarly comfortable progress for Assam’s Shiva Thapa, a six-time medallist at the Asian Championships, who qualified for the semifinals of the light welterweight 60-63.5kg category, winning against Shashank Pradhan of Delhi.
Later, Sanjeet, the 2021 Asian Champion, of Services won his quarterfinal fight against Naman Tanwar of Railways in the heavyweight 86-92kg category, on points.
Sagar, 2022 CWG silver medallist, of Railways was also victorious in the last fight of the day against Navjot Singh of Chandigarh in the super heavyweight 92kg-plus category. The referee stopped this match in the very first round as Sagar completely outmatched his opponent.