Sonia Lather lone Indian to make semis of World C’ships

Sonia Lather got the better of Poland’s Aneta Rygielska 3-0 to save India of a complete washout at an event where not one from the country could qualify for Rio in the Olympic categories of 51 kg, 60 kg and 75 kg.

Sonia Lather in the Asian Women's Boxing championship in 2012.   -  R. V. Moorthy

Former Asian silver-medallist Sonia Lather (57kg) was the lone Indian boxer to make the semifinals and assure herself of a medal at the AIBA (International Boxing Association) Women’s World Championships even as four others lost their quarterfinal bouts here today.

Sonia got the better of Poland’s Aneta Rygielska 3-0 to save India of a complete washout at an event where not one from the country could qualify for Rio in the Olympic categories of 51 kg, 60 kg and 75 kg.

The ones to bow out of contention in the non-Olympic categories were previous edition’s silver-medallist Sarjubala Devi (48 kg), former junior champion Nikhat Zareen (54 kg), Saweety (81 kg) and Seema Poonia (+81 kg).

Sonia got the mix of caution and aggression just right and quite literally wore down her rival. Displaying some fine footwork, Sonia managed to strike a few telling jabs in the opening two rounds to unsettle Aneta.

In the final two rounds, the Polish boxer struggled to continue the bout and was brought to her knees by Sonia in the final few seconds of the bout.

Sonia will now face Italian Alessia Mesiano, who scored a 2-0 triumph over Russian Viktoria Kuleshova in her quarterfinal bout.

Earlier, in a disappointing start to the proceedings, second seed Sarjubala lost to local favourite Nazym Kyzaibay.

The diminutive Manipuri, who is also a former junior world champion, struggled against her taller opponent, who also had a better reach.

The strategy to attack relentlessly, which is usually Sarjubala’s biggest strength, did not work today as Kyzaibay caught her on the counter-offence. The Kazakh displayed sharper reflexes and scored on counter-jabs to outwit Sarjubala.

Zareen also could not adjust to the counter-attacking gameplan of her Chinese rival Piaopiao Liu as she went down 0-3 in her quarterfinal contest.

Zareen, who is also a junior world champion, connected accurately every time she launched an attack but could not defend well.

Previous edition’s silver-medallist Saweety was also no match for Turkey’s Elif Guneri and was beaten 0-3, while Seema fell tamely to Lazzat Kungeibayeva to 0-3 scoreline.