What's the story?
Manish Kaushik became the ninth Indian boxer to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics 2020 after winning his box-off encounter in the men's 63 kg weight category at the Asia-Oceania zone Olympic Boxing Qualifiers.
In case you didn't know...
The Asia/Oceania Olympic Qualification Tournament for Boxing is being held at the Prince Hamzah Hall in Amman, Jordan from 3rd to 11th March. The Indian pugilists competed in all the 13 weight categories (8 for men and 5 for women) at these qualifiers.
A total of 8 Indian pugilists (4 in the men's category and 4 in the women's category) had already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics by virtue of reaching the semi-finals at these qualifiers. Two of these boxers, Vikas Krishan and Simranjit Kaur won their semi-finals bouts on Tuesday to make it to the finals in the men's 69 kg and women's 60 kg weight categories respectively.
Another 2 Indian pugilists, Manish Kaushik (men's 63 kg) and Sachin Kumar (men's 81 kg) still had a chance to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics via a box-off between losing quarter-finalists.
Sachin had won his first box-off encounter against Manh Cuong Nguyen of Vietnam on Tuesday and was supposed to take on Shabbos Negmatulloev of Tajikistan in his final box-off bout on Wednesday. Manish, on the other hand, had to face Harrison Garside of Australia in his only box-off encounter.
The heart of the matter
India's stupendous run at the Asia-Oceania zone Olympic Boxing Qualifiers continued as Manish Kaushik became the ninth Indian boxer to book a quota place for the Tokyo Olympics 2020 after winning his box-off encounter in the morning session of the final day of competition. This is the most number of quota places bagged by India at any of the Olympics, the previous highest being 8 at the 2012 London Olympics.
Manish, a bronze medalist at the World Championships, defeated the second-seeded Harrison Garside of Australia with a split 4-1 verdict in a box-off encounter in the men's 63 kg weight category.
Manish, who had lost the Gold medal bout to Garside at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, was the dominant boxer in the first 2 rounds and got a 4-1 verdict in his favour in both the rounds with 4 judges scoring the 2 rounds 10-9 for the Indian and 1 judge scoring them 10-9 for the Aussie.
Stung by the reverse, Garside came back hard in the last round and the two southpaws traded blow for blow. Although Garside was the more dominant boxer in the final round, the advantage gained by Manish in the first 2 rounds helped him to close the bout with a split 4-1 verdict in his favour. The final judges' scorecards of 29-28, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28, 28-29 demonstrated the closeness of the bout.
Sachin will be facing Shabbos Negmatulloev of Tajikistan in another box-off encounter in the men's 81 kg weight category. He would be hoping to stamp his authority in this encounter and take the Indian boxers' Olympic qualification count to 10 at these qualifiers.
With Vikas Krishan having already pulled out from his final encounter due to an injury, India's hopes for a gold medal at these qualifiers will be resting on the shoulders of Simranjit, who will be facing Oh Yeonji of South Korea in her final encounter in the evening session.
Also Checkout: Tokyo Olympics 2020 SchedulePublished 11 Mar 2020, 17:35 IST