CWG 2018: Anusha assured of medal
April 9, 2018 05:42 pm
A powerful straight right to the jaw, two minutes into her fight against Brandy Barnes of the Cayman Islands, earned Anusha Dilruksi Kodituwakku a bronze medal and Sri Lanka’s first women’s Commonwealth Games boxing medal ever on Sunday.
The queen of the local ring will now have the opportunity to be the mythical alchemist and turn base metal into gold when she takes on India’s Mary Kom in the semi-final on Wednesday. But win or lose, she and Sri Lanka, are assured of a bronze medal.
“This is a very proud moment for me. All the hard work I have put in over the last few months have paid off and I’m happy to be the first female boxer to win a medal at these Games for Sri Lanka,” said an ecstatic Anusha after her first-round demolition job over the hapless but exotically named Brandy Barnes.
Sri Lanka have won boxing medals before – when these Games were called the British Empire Games. The first when the country was still called Ceylon, when William Henricus won a gold medal in the Men’s 57kg category. Then in 1950, K. Edwin and A. Perera won silver medals in the Men’s 51 kg and Men’s 54 kg categories respectively.
The British Empire Games became the Commonwealth Games in 1978, and it was left to Anusha to break a 68-year-long drought with an emphatic punch which dropped her opponent to the canvas and resulted in the referee stopping the 48 kg contest.
“I will now go for gold. It is possible but it will not be easy against Mark (Kom). I have not met her since the last SAF Games in 2016 when we met in the gold medal final and I hope I can change that result,” Anusha wished.
Two years ago, India’s celebrated Kom defeated Anusha in the flyweight 51 kg category on a Technical Knockout (TKO). There was nothing technical as far as Anusha was concerned for her opponent tread on her knee after she lost her balance resulting in a collateral ligament tear.
Injury has dogged the career of Anusha, a former Sri Lanka women’s rugby sevens player. In 2014, she was injured in a car accident when returning after a team photo shoot just before leaving for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. She broke her collarbone and fractured her knee.
As such, the 38-year-old Anusha is deserving of a bronze medal – and hopefully gold or silver – on her comeback trail which will end most probably with the Asian Games in Jakarta in August.
“I plan to retire after the Asian Games. That will definitely be my last international assignment for Sri Lanka. I have dedicated a lot to boxing. It has been a hard road to travel, coming back after so many injuries but it has been worth it, especially now, winning a bronze medal,” Anusha revealed.
Her effort has guaranteed Team Lanka another medal. What remains to be seen is which colour will be added to the silver and two bronze medals already won by the weightlifters.
The men also kept alive medal hopes in boxing. In the men’s light welterweight 64kg category, Dinidu Sapramadu, 24, reached the quarterfinals on Tuesday, defeating Richard Hadlow of New Zealand on points. He will now face Jonas Jonas of Namibia for a berth in the medal rounds. Also reaching the quarterfinals was IshanBandara in the men’s 52 kg class. Bandara defeated Nauru’s Yachen Cook on points.
Meanwhile ace swimmer Matthew Abeysinghe did his country proud when he reached the semi-final of the Men’s 100 metres freestyle. Abeysinghe just missed out on a place in the final, timing 49.43 seconds in the semi-finals to finish with the ninth fastest time. Only the top eight qualified. Sri Lanka also qualified for the final of the Men’s 4x100m freestyle relay but were disqualified.