For 18-year-old S. Kalaivani, being patted on the back by former World Cup medallist and National selector V. Devarajan meant a lot.
The Chennai girl, who impressed everyone with her fine performance in a 48kg first round bout of the National women's boxing championship at the Rajiv Gandhi Sports Complex here on Sunday, showed that she might make it big if she honed her skills in the ring.
Kalaivani tamed an aggressive opponent, Nikita Lohar of Jharkhand, 5-0 to enter the pre-quarterifinals.
Kalaivani used her height to stay clear of danger as Nikita exhibited some quick combinations in the opening period.
However, guided by her American coach Ronald Simms, southpaw Kalaivani, a former National sub-junior champion and a School Games title winner, moved around well and landed the straight ones nicely to inflict three standing counts on her rival in the last two rounds. “My coach was angry due to the lack of foot movement in the first round. Later, I rectified it,” said Kalaiwani, who is supported by JSW Sports.
“My father's family did not allow him to do boxing. So he pushed me and my brother into it. I want to win the gold medal here (on my debut).”
Former World youth champion Sarjubala Devi, the 48kg title holder who jumped to a higher 51kg, began well by outslugging Simran 5-0.
Donning the Railways colours for the first time, 54kg defending champion and Asian bronze medallist Shiksha trounced Gazal Mathew 5-0.
Important results (preliminary rounds)
48kg: S. Kalaiwani (TN) bt Nikita Lohar (Jha) 5-0, K. Bina Devi (Man) bt Eva Marbaniang (Meg) 5-0, Fancy Devi (AIP) bt Rimpi Dabholkar (Goa) 5-0,
51kg: Vanlal Duati (AIP) bt Neera Sharma (Skm) RSC-R1, Meenakshi (RSPB) bt Kajal Kumari (Bih) RSC-R1, Gargi (Chd) bt Daljit Kaur (Pun) 5-0, Saroj (Raj) bt Poonam Bisht (Utk) 5-0, Sarjubala Devi (Man) bt Simran (Del) 5-0.
54kg: Siksha (RSPB) bt Gazal Mathew (Kar) 5-0, Sonia (UP) bt Indira (Cht) 5-0, Manisha (Har) bt Savita (Chd) 4-1, Sabita Limboo (Skm) bt Sabiha Khanam (Jha) 5-0, S.Rabika Devi (Aru) bt Jamuna (HP) 3-2.
57kg: Roshni Subba (Skm) bt Seema Kumari (Bih) 5-0, Sarita (MP) bt Anjima Khakhlary (Asm) RSC-R3.