Bright start for India in Asian Olympic Boxing Qualifiers as Gaurav Solanki and Ashish Kumar sail through to the pre-quarterfinals
- Gaurav Solanki and Ashish Kumar both picked up dominating victories over their opponents in their respective weight categories.
What's the story?
The Indian boxers made a bright start in the Asia & Oceania zone Olympic Qualification Tournament with Gaurav Solanki and Ashish Kumar blowing away their opponents in the Round of 32 clashes in the 57 kg and 75 kg weight categories respectively.
In case you didn't know
The Asia & Oceania zone Olympic Qualification Tournament for Boxing is being held in Amman, Jordan from 3rd to 11th March. The qualifiers are being held across 13 weight categories (8 for men and 5 for women). There are a total of 41 spots for men and 22 spots for women, split between the various weight categories, up for grabs in these qualifiers.
The Indian boxers are participating in the qualifiers in each of the 13 weight categories with London Olympic bronze medalist and 6-time World Champion Mary Kom and World Championship silver medalist Amit Panghal leading the squad.
Gaurav Solanki and Ashish Kumar are representing India in the men's 57 kg and 75 kg weight categories respectively. The 57 kg weight category has 6 Olympic slots while the 75 kg weight category has 5 Olympic slots in these qualifiers.
Heart of the matter
Gaurav Solanki and Ashish Kumar got India off to a bright start at the Asia & Oceania zone Olympic Boxing Qualification Tournament by clinching dominating victories over their opponents in their respective weight categories.
Solanki, a gold medalist at the Commonwealth Games 2018, was the first to take the ring and he virtually toyed with his opponent Akylbek Esenbek Uulu of Kyrgyzstan to clinch a unanimous 5-0 decision in his favour in the 57 kg weight category.
Solanki was on the offensive in all the 3 rounds and never gave an opportunity to his opponent to strike back. He got a score of 10-9 from four of the judges while the 5th judge gave him a 10-8 verdict in the 1st round. In the 2nd and 3rd rounds, he got a score of 10-9 from all the 5 judges to end up a unanimous 5-0 victor with the final judges score reading 30-27, 30-27, 30-26, 30-27 and 30-27 in his favour.
Ashish also followed in Solanki's footsteps to clinch a unanimous 5-0 verdict against Kan Chia-Wei of Chinese Taipei in the 75 kg weight category.
Unlike Solanki, Ashish did not start off well and was trailing his opponent after the first round. The 1st round was a very close affair with the judges giving a split 48-47 decision in favour of his Chinese Taipei opponent.
Stung by the reverse, Ashish came out aggressively out of the blocks and totally dominated his opponent in the next 2 rounds. He took advantage of his reach to keep his opponent at bay and came out a 5-0 victor with the final judges score reading 29-28, 30-27, 29-28, 30-27 and 29-27 in his favour.
Both Solanki and Ashish would be up against tough opponents in their pre-quarterfinal clashes. While Solanki will be up against the top-seeded Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov of Uzbekistan, Ashish will be facing the fourth-seeded Omurbek Bekzhigit Uulu of Kyrgyzstan in their Round of 16 clashes.
Ashish will draw confidence from the fact that he had defeated the Kyrgyz boxer in the quarterfinals of the Asian Championships last year on his way to bagging a silver medal.
Both the boxers will have to be at their best if they have to get through their pre-quarterfinal encounters and keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics 2020.Published 03 Mar 2020, 19:17 IST