The 23-year-old boxer from Punjab showed aggression to beat Amelia Moore of USA, with her mother watching from the stands.
With Simranjit Kaur feeling the butterflies ahead of her World Championships debut, Raffaele Bergamasco came through with some effective last-minute coaching. “There was nothing technical, nothing tactical,” said Berganasco. “I just told her, ‘you’re an Indian woman. You have the heart and the mind. You go win’!”
Simranjit did, with authority. With a 4-1 win over American Amelia Moore in the 64kg category on Saturday, the 23-year-old posted the fifth win for India, and certainly the most exciting. As it turned out, there was more to Bergamasco’s advice than just simple pep talk.
“I looked at the fights of the opponent, and I saw that she is a slow-starter,” said Bergamasco. “So in the match today Simranjit was very, very aggressive.”
“Very, very aggressive” is putting it mildly. Simranjit, who hails from Chakar village, Ludhiana, came out swinging, and within the first 10 seconds stunned Moore with a left hook. She maintained the pace, pressured Moore and disengaged at the right time more often than not.
She landed flush right crosses on the American to end the round, but buoyed by the cheers from the crowd including her teammates and family sitting in the Indira Gandhi Stadium stands and the adrenaline rush of the frenetic first round, she landed a deliberate jab well after the bell.
Simranjit, who wants to win a medal at the World Championships for her father who expired in July, wouldn’t have made the cut for the tournament without Bergamasco’s conviction.
“This bout was also important for me because I wanted her for this tournament. And the performance justifies her selection,” said Bergamasco. “She can’t keep boxing like this in every fight. But I am sure she can switch up her game for the next bouts.”
“I have always been with her since a school tournament in Patiala. She wants that support in the stadium,” says Rajpal, who adds that since then, it has become easier watching her daughter get punched in the face. “Usko lagte hain, but saamne waale ko zyaada lagte hain!”
Sonia, Pinki make it 5/5:
Pinki Jangra advanced in the 51kg category with a 4-1 win over Armenia’s Anush Grigoryan. Proficient at fighting in the inside, Jangra was flummoxed with her opponent staying at a distance initially. Save for a handful of crosses, Jangra had trouble landing with Grigoryan dishing out counters.
Caught in the clinch, she also failed to throw any punches. But the 28-year-old used feints to draw out her opponent as the match progressed, and her clean counters earned her the win.