Sarita upsets world champion in Olympic berth quest
New Delhi: India`s L Sarita Devi (60kg) stunned defending champion and world number 2 Gulsum Tatar of Turkey to enter the pre-quarterfinals of the seventh World Women`s Boxing Championships in Qinhuangdao, China today and inch closer to qualifying for the London Olympics.
Asian champion Sarita, who is competing in just her second international event after jumping two divisions, defeated Tatar 14-13 in a see-saw contest to continue her bid for one of the two Olympic slots, which are available for India in this division.
Women`s boxing is making Olympic debut in London in three weight divisions -- 51kg, 60kg and 75kg.
The Manipuri, who became a lightweight 60kg boxer just a few months back, will now be up against England`s Natasha Jonas, who defeated Switzerland`s Sandra Bruegger 23-11.
"I have gained in confidence because this is a huge win for me. I maintained an attacking strategy and didn`t allow her to settle into her counter-attacking game," Sarita told PTI from Qinhuangado.
"This was the first time I was competing against her and I knew it would be tough because I am not known much in the 60kg division," she added.
Sarita endured a draining bout with the scores being level in three rounds before she edged past Tutur, also a European champion, in the final two minutes.
Tied 3-3 in the opening round, she kept up the pressure on her fancied opponent by making it 4-4 and 3-3 in the next four minutes.
The Indian, who has changed her weight division five times since starting in the fly weight 51kg category, managed to nose ahead in the fourth and final round.
"My sole focus is getting an Olympic berth. I have put in so much hard work that God will have to listen. I am happy with today`s win but not too happy, I will reserve that for the win which gets me an Olympic berth," said Sarita.
In the non-Olympic weight categories, former world champion RL Jenny (81kg) also pulled off a thrilling win beating Germany`s Sarah Scheurich 11-10.
Jenny, competing in the last bout of the day, was down by a point in the opening round before equalising in the second.
She got the decisive lead in the third round and managed to maintain it in the final two minutes to emerge triumphant.
But there was disappointment for India with K Mandakini Chanu (57kg) losing 16-21 to world number one Tiara Brown in the second round.
Chanu was not too adrift of her opponent in the opening two minutes, ending the first round at 2-3. She even managed to equalise by clinching the second round 5-4.
The see-saw contest went in favour of Brown in the third round as she took a point`s lead.
In the final two minutes, the American was in command and clinched it 8-4 to register what seemed like a facile win from the overall scoreline.
Later, the Turkish team lodged an official complaint against Sarita. But, it was rejected by the judges after seeing the video footage of the bout.