Olympics 2021: Why Pooja Rani lost her quarterfinal bout to Li Qian

Pooja Rani (R)
Pooja Rani (R)

Two-time Asian champion Pooja Rani's debut Olympic campaign came to an end in Tokyo on Saturday. The Indian was dominated from start to finish by Rio Olympic bronze medalist Li Qian of China in the 75kg quarterfinals, bowing out 0-5.

Rani had earlier started her campaign with a commanding 5-0 win over Algeria's Ichrak Chaib.

Here are three reasons Rani lost her bout against the Chinese:

#1 Most of Pooja Rani's punches failed to hit the target

Drawn to face the 2018 world champion, Pooja Rani was a huge underdog going into the contest. The Indian put in her best effort but the Chinese had an answer for everything thrown at her.

Rani stormed out of the blocks and started raining down punches on Li Qian from the start. The Indian had Li on the ropes initially, but most of her punches failed to connect.

Li Qian, on the other hand, was much more efficient. Thus it came as no surprise when all five judges voted in favor of the Chinese at the end of the first round.

#2 Li Qian had more impactful punches

Pooja Rani was urged to go for combinations by her camp at the start of the second round. But as she continued to look for the opening to connect, she more often than not came up empty-handed. Li, meanwhile, kept landing solid blows.

By the end of the second round, Rani had once again come up short.

#3 Li Qian won the psychological battle

By the time the third round started, the Indian appeared very unsure of her moves. Being a master tactician, Li Qian had successfully managed to plant a seed of doubt in Pooja Rani's mind.

The Chinese, on the other hand, looked calm and composed, showing brilliant judgment and timing as she had done for most of the bout.

Rani threw everything she had at the Chinese in the third round but eventually ran out of ideas as Li Qian held firm for the win.

Also read: Why Amit Panghal failed to win his Olympics 2021 bout against Yurberjen Herney Martinez

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Edited by Arvind Sriram
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