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Tokyo Olympics 2020, Asia-Oceania Boxing Qualifiers: Big day for India as Mary Kom and Amit Panghal set to contest at the qualifiers

  • Mary Kom, Amit Panghal and Gaurav Solanki in action in their Round of 16 bouts at the Asia-Oceania Olympic Boxing Qualifiers today.
Kartik Iyer
ANALYST
News
Modified 07 Mar 2020, 12:01 IST

Mary Kom will take to the ring for the first time at the qualifiers
Mary Kom will take to the ring for the first time at the qualifiers

What's the story?

It will be a big day for India at the Asia-Oceania Olympic Boxing Qualifiers today with two of the country's favourites, MC Mary Kom and Amit Panghal, entering the ring for the first time for their Round of 16 clashes. Gaurav Solanki will be the other Indian boxer on display today.

In case you didn't know

The Asia & Oceania zone Olympic Qualification Tournament for Boxing is being held at the Prince Hamzah Hall in Amman, Jordan from 3rd to 11th March. The Indian boxers are competing in all the 13 weight categories (8 for men and 5 for women) at the qualifiers.

The Indian contingent is being led by six-time World Champion and London Olympics bronze medalist MC Mary Kom and World Championship silver medalist Amit Panghal in the women's and men's categories respectively. Mary is fighting in the women's 51kg weight category while Amit will be showing his wares in the men's 52kg weight category.

There are six Olympic slots up for grabs in both the weight categories at these qualifiers.

Heart of the matter

India have had an outstanding start to their campaign in the Asia-Oceania Olympic Boxing Qualifiers with all their boxers other than Naman Tanwar winning their respective bouts. The whole of India will be hoping that this trend continues as the favourites, MC Mary Kom and Amit Panghal make their debut at these qualifiers on Saturday.

Amit will be the first Indian to feature in Saturday's programme as he takes on Enkhmanadakh Kharkhuu of Mongolia in his Round of 16 clash in the men's 52 kg weight category in the 5th bout of the morning session.

Amit, who has been given the top billing at these qualifiers, has been in tremendous form starting with the Gold medal at the Jakarta Asian Games 2018. He followed that up with another gold medal at the Asian Championships before winning an unprecedented silver medal at the 2019 World Championships.

The Indian has split his last two fights against the Mongolian but CA Kuttappa, India’s head boxing coach, is confident that Amit would be able to deliver the goods this time and take revenge for his last defeat.

“Amit boxed against him before in the Asian Games and beat him one-sided. And in the World Military Games, Amit lost 5:0 to the same guy. Our plan is to create surprises in every round and I am sure Amit would like to even scores as he faces his opponent tomorrow"
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Mary will be taking on Tasmyn Benny of New Zealand in her Round of 16 clash in the women's 51 kg weight category in the 4th bout of the evening session.

Mary, who is the 2nd seed at these qualifiers, is aiming to qualify for her 2nd Olympics and hopes to add to her bronze medal at the London Olympics with a Gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics 2020. Having won an unparalleled 8th medal at the 2019 World Championships, Mary has been training hard in pursuit of the all-important Gold medal at the Olympics.

Raffaele Bergamasco, the foreign coach of the Indian women’s boxing team, said that Mary is very much aware that this would be her last Olympics and she wants to do her utmost best to realise her dream of gold at the Olympics.

“Mary knows that this is her last Olympics and wants to do her best to close her dream with a medal. She has worked hard, especially the reactivity work on the legs as well and has been working hard to be in good shape"

Gaurav Solanki will be the other Indian boxer on show today as he takes on the top-seeded Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov of Uzbekistan in a pre-quarterfinal clash in the men's 57kg weight category in the 9th bout of the morning session.

What's next?

Mary Kom and Amit Panghal would be hoping to continue India's bright start at the Asia-Oceania Olympic Boxing Qualifiers. With six Olympic slots up for grabs in both their weight categories at these qualifiers, they are a couple of wins away from making it to the Tokyo Olympics 2020.

Gaurav, on the other hand, will hope to continue his good work having already won his Round of 32 clash at the qualifiers and push for a berth in the quadrennial event as well.


Published 07 Mar 2020, 11:41 IST
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