Shiva Thapa, Pooja Rani strike gold in boxing

Tokyo: Shiva Thapa (63kg) and Pooja Rani (75kg) clinched gold medals with impressive wins, while Ashish (69kg) settled for a silver as India ended with a decent haul of seven medals at the Olympic Test Event for Boxing here on Thursday.

The other four medals are bronze owing to semifinal losses of Nikhat Zareen (51kg), Simranjeet Kaur (60kg) Sumit Sangwan (91kg) and Vahlimpuia (75kg) on Wednesday.

Four-time Asian medallist Thapa out-punched Kazakhstan's national champion and Asian bronze-winner Sanatali Toltayev 5-0 to claim the top honours.

Thapa is also the reigning national champion and a bronze-medallist from the 2015 world championships.

Former Asian Games bronze-medallist Rani edged past Australia's Caitlin Parker in a split 4-1 decision to ensure that the Indian women's contingent also had a gold in its kitty.

Asian bronze-medallist Ashish (69kg), however, lost to Japan's Sewon Okazawa to sign off with a silver medal. The Indian went down in a 1-4 judgement.

Rani is a three-time Asian medallist, the most recent of those medals being a gold earlier this year. Hailing from Haryana, the boxer is employed as an Income Tax inspector in the state government.

The 28-year-old, who was encouraged to take up boxing by one of her teachers, had kept her career choice a secret from her family for six months, fearing that she would be asked to reconsider her decision.

The more seasoned Thapa has been enjoying a good year even though he is out of contention from next year's first Olympic qualifier in China after Manish Kaushik secured the berth with a bronze in the world championships.

This year, Thapa has already won an Asian bronze, followed by an India Open gold before being crowned the national champion for a third time earlier this month.

"Shiva has matured quite a lot in the last one year and this is showing in the way he is performing. He has been in tremendous form and will continue to grow," national coach C A Kuttappa told PTI.

"Ashish too is developing into a good boxer. His transition from youth to senior level has been very smooth," he added.

Earlier, former junior world champion Zareen, Simranjeet along with Asian silver-medallist Sangwan (91kg) and Vahlimpuia (75kg), in the men's draw, lost their respective semifinal bouts to end third.

All these pugilists had made the last-four stage without any preliminary contest owing to the small size of their respective draws.