India’s medal hopes rise to 8

Shiva Thapa

Ulaanbaatar, June 22: India’s medal hopes swelled to eight at the Ulaanbaatar Cup after Shiva Thapa (60kg), Mandeep Jangra (69kg) and two other youngsters advanced to the semi-finals here on Friday.

Besides Shiva and Mandeep, debutant Vanhlimpuia (75kg) and Etash Khan (56kg) also made it to the last four stage after registering comprehensive victories in the afternoon session.

Shiva, a former world championship bronze medallist, set his date with local hope Battumur Misheelt in the semi-final after notching up a clinical unanimous win over Kyrgyzstan’s Ravshanbek in the quarters.

Former Commonwealth Games silver medallist Mandeep defeated Mongolian Batkhuyag Sukhkhuyag in his quarterfinal bout.

However, the experienced L Sarita Devi (60kg), a former world and asian champion, lost a closely-contested quarterfinal bout to Chinese Taipei’s Shih Yu Wu to go out of the tournament.

In the men’s draw, Salman Sheikh lost a close quarterfinal contest to local favourite Gankhuyag Gan-Erdene.

Vanhlimpuia, competing in his maiden international tournament, defeated Korea’s Song Myong Su in a unanimous verdict while Etash had to slog it out a bit against China’s Jia Wei Lu before fetching a split verdict in his favour from the judges.

On Thursday, India were assured of another four medals after world and Asian silver medallist Sonia Lather (57kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), Himanshu Sharma (49kg) and Ashish (64kg) entered the semis. IANS