Debutant Manju Rani lost to local favourite and second-seed Russian Ekaterina Paltceva to settle for silver medal in the 48kg category of the 2019 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in Ulan-Ude on Sunday. The sixth-seed lost 1-4 in the final as India finished their campaign with a silver and three bronze medals from the global event.
Rani thus capped off her dream run in a maiden championships appearance during which she beat top-seed Rojas Tayonis Cedeno to enter the semis and this ensuring herself a medal. In the last-four clash against Thailand’s Chuthamat Raksat, she prevailed 4-1 on a day when the three other Indian boxers Mary Kom (51kg), Jamuna Boro (54kg) and Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) lost their respective bouts to get bronze.
Mary Kom, seeded third, lost 1-4 to second seed Busenaz Cakiroglu of Turkey who is the reigning European Championships and European Games gold-medallist. Boro went down 0-5 to top seed and former Asian Games bronze-medallist Huang Hsiao-Wen of Chinese Taipei while Borgohain lost to China’s Yang Liu 2-3.
The 19-year-old Rani is the first Indian in 18 years since Mary Kom to have made the final in maiden appearance at the worlds. She has had a memorable 2019 having clinched the national title in January before claiming bronze at the India Open in May.
Hailing from Haryana’s Rithal village of Rohtak district, she idolises six-time world champion MC Mary Kom. Her long-term aim is to represent India at the 2024 Olympics.