It was a spectacular homecoming for World championship bronze medallist Shiva Thapa, while Asian Games gold medallist Amit Panghal also lived upto his billing reaching the semifinals in 52kg category at the second India Open boxing tournament, in Guwahati, on Wednesday.
Five other Indians also progressed to the semifinals at the Karmabir Nabin Chandra Bordoloi Indoor Stadium.
Three years after he was crowned national champion at the same venue, a matured Thapa returned stronger as he clinically executed his plans to outwork his taller Mauritius opponent Hellene Damien 5-0 and set up a semifinal clash against D Krystian Sczepanski of Poland in the 60kg category.
"I was facing a taller opponent like him for the first time in my category," said Thapa, who will switch to 63kg after the tournament keeping in mind of the approved weight categories for Olympic qualification.
"He had a better reach so my strategy was to hit him from the close range and then quickly go out of his reach. It worked out perfectly."
All the buzz of the day was about the 13th bout of the day as hordes of school children, Shiva's family members including his father Padam Thapa waited anxiously for the local favourite to come inside the ring.
"I can't express in words the amazing feeling. The crowd was all at their toes and it was about living up to their expectation," said Thapa, who last month became the first Indian male boxer to claim four consecutive Asian medals with his bronze at the Asian Championship in Bangkok.
Ankit and Manish Kaushik also had 5-0 wins over their respective opponents making it a three-Indian lineup in the 60kg category.
In the 52kg category, Indians ruled the roost with Panghal, national champion P L Prasad, former world youth champion Sachin Siwach and reigning Commonwealth Games champion Gaurav Solanki making it an all-Indian lineup.
Panghal, who claimed the 49kg gold after defeating reigning Olympic champion Hasanboy Dusmatov of Uzbekistan in the Asiad final in Jakarta last year, opted to play a waiting game against Thailand Chakapong Chanpirom in the first round.
Having moved up to Olympic category 52kg after winning gold at the Strandja meet in Bulgaria earlier this year, Panghal then stepped up his pace to win 5-0.
Archery World Cup: Deepika, Tarundeep advance; Atanu crashes out
Four Indians including Deepika Kumari and Tarundeep Rai advanced into third round even as Atanu Das crashed out in the recurve individual section of the Archery World Cup Stage III, in Antalya, Turkey, on Wednesday.
Making their first international appearance this season after missing out the season-opening World Cup Stage I in Medellin due to travel issues, the Indians also kept themselves in medal hunt in the compound section where Avishek Verma and Rajat Chauhan also made it to round three.
The 21-year-old Atul Verma, a bronze medalist at the 2014 Youth Olympics, was the most impressive, shocking Shanghai World Cup gold medallist Deng Yu-Cheng of Chinese Taipei in a shoot-off.
Trailing 0-4 after two sets, Verma, a silver medalist at the 2017 World Youth Championship, made a stunning comeback winning the next two sets before the fifth one saw a 28-all tie.
In the shoot-off, Verma held his nerves to edge out his opponent 9-8 to set up a third round clash against world number two Steve Wijler of the Netherlands, a bronze medalist at the 2017 World Championships in Mexico. Verma had thrashed Gantugs Jantsan of Mongolia 7-3 in the first round.
Former Olympian Tarundeep Rai also remained in the medal fray and set up a third round clash with 17-year-old Japanese Aoshima Tetsuya, a bronze medallist at the 2017 World Youth Championships.
The Army man defeated Dominik Irrasch of Austria (first round) 7-3 and Gasper Strajhar of Slovenia (second round) 6-4 en route to third round.
India's number one recurve archer Atanu Das, crashed out in the second round suffering a 3-7 defeat to 19-year-old Carlos Rojas of Mexico.
The world No 25 Indian took a 2-0 lead but inconsistency let him down as he shot a series of 8s, giving the Mexican youngster, a chance to seize the momentum.
Former world No 1 Deepika started her campaign with an easy 6-0 win over Jibek Kanatbek Kyzy Jibek of Kyrgyzstan 6-0.
In the second round, Deepika face a strong challenge from 45-year-old 1992 Barcenlona Olympics bronze medalist Khatuna Lorig before prevailing 6-5 (9-7) in the shootoff. Deepika will face Veronika Marchenko of Ukraine in the third round.
Laishram Bombayla Devi had a smooth sailing into round three going past Ozay Gasimova of Azerbaijan and Mackenzie Brown of USA by identical scores of 6-4. Bombayla will next face Sayana Tsyrempilova of Russia.
Javelin thrower Shivpal to compete in Diamond League
Asian Championships silver medallist javelin thrower Shivpal Singh is set to compete in his maiden Diamond League Series in the Oslo leg on June 13, the Athletics Federation of India said.
The 23-year-old Shivpal had won the silver in the Asian Championships held last month in Doha with a personal best throw of 86.23m, which also fetched him a berth in the World Championships scheduled in the same Qatar capital city in September-October.
"Javelin Thrower Shivpal Singh will compete at #iaaf @Diamond_League Oslo leg on 13th June 2019," the AFI tweeted.
With Asian Games and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Neeraj Chopra recovering after an elbow surgery, Shivpal is the top javelin thrower in the country currently.
This will be Shivpal's first foray in the prestigious Diamond League Series, which is an invitational event competed among top athletes in the world.
Last year, Neeraj took part in three legs of Diamond League and then finished fourth in the Finals in Zurich.
Shivpal left for Spala in Poland, along with other javelin throwers for their foreign training stint.
Joshna keeps hopes alive
A fighting Joshna Chinappa kept her hopes alive as the Indian entered the pre-quarterfinal round of the British Open Squash, a PSA World Tour Platinum event being held Hull, UK.
Saurav Ghosal and Ramit Tandon have bowed out of the tournament, though.
Seeded 15 and down below in the draw, Joshna had a bye in the first round but did well in the next late on Tuesday when she downed English challenger girl Millie Tomlinson 12-10, 11-3, 11-9.
This is an event where some of the world's best players get to play and to progress is a big achievement. Joshna will face the sixth seeded Sarah-Jane Perry of England late on Thursday.
However, Ghosal met with an unexpected reverse after a bye in the first round, losing 11-9, 11-4, 7-11, 11-6 to fifth seeded Egyptian Karim Abdel Gawad.
Ramit was unlucky to confront the experienced James Willstrop in the very first round and lost 11-8, 11-8, 11-1.
Olympic marathon silver medallist Kirwa suspended for doping
Bahrain's Olympic women's marathon silver medallist Eunice Kirwa has been provisionally suspended after failing a doping test, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said in a statement.
Kenyan-born Kirwa, who switched allegiance to Bahrain in 2013 and finished second at the Rio Olympics in 2016, tested positive for erythropoietin (EPO), a banned blood-boosting hormone that improves endurance.
"The AIU confirms (a) provisional suspension against... Bahraini long-distance runner Eunice Jepkirui Kirwa... for a violation of the IAAF's (International Association of Athletics Federations') Anti-Doping Rules," AIU said in a statement.
Kirwa becomes the second women's marathon podium finisher at Rio to test positive for the same substance after Kenyan gold medallist Jemima Sumgong, who was suspended for four years by her country's anti-doping agency (ADAK) in 2017.
Sumgong's ban was doubled to eight years by the AIU after the IAAF found her guilty of providing false information while defending herself against the initial sanction but was allowed to keep her gold medal as she tested positive in April 2017.