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Wanniarachchi gurantees first medal in boxing in 60 years

delhi Updated: Oct 10, 2010 16:07 IST
Manju Wanniarachchi

Manju Wanniarachchi on Sunday guaranteed Sri Lanka its first Commonwealth Games medal in boxing in 60 years after easing through to the semi-finals on points.

The 30-year-old saw of Kenya's Nicholas Okoth in the bantamweight quarter-finals, putting him through to the last four and a guaranteed bronze.

"This is Sri Lanka's first boxing medal since 1950, so this is great for us. It is historic," said manager Dian Gomes.

"He (Wanniarachchi) has come a long way. In the 2006 Commonwealth Games he lost in the quarterfinals. So finally he is among medals for his country."

Wanniarachchi, who lost in the final of the Commonwealth Championships to England's Iain Weaver earlier this year, was virtually speechless.

"I am so happy that I am not able to explain anything. I will give my best in the next bout."

He takes on Botswana's Tirafalo Seoko, who beat Namibia's Sakaria Lukas.

"I picked up the pace (scoring eight points in the third and final round), but my opponent didn't have many weak points," said Lukas.

The other bantamweight semi-final will be contested between Sean McGoldrick of Wales and Louis Julie of Mauritius.

"I am really chuffed. I can't believe it and I'm still smiling," McGoldrick said after getting the better of Northern Ireland's Tyrone McCullagh 4-3 on points.

"It was really hard in the end. I just need to make sure (in the next bout) I move around a lot and try to be a difficult target. I have to take my time and pick up points gradually."

McCullagh conceded he did not box well.

"Maybe I didn't deserve to go through, but neither did he. I don't know where he scored four points."

Julie beat India's Akhil Kumar 7-5 to move into the last-four.

"He (Julie) was good, but I have beaten him before at the 2006 Commonwealth Games," said the Indian. "A defeat is a defeat. Losing is part of the game."

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