What's the story?
Simranjit Kaur bagged the silver medal in the the Asia-Oceania zone Olympic Boxing Qualifiers in the women's 60 kg weight category after she was defeated by Korea's Oh Yeonji. Vikas Krishan also had to settle for silver as he had to pull out from his final encounter due to an injury.
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The Asia/Oceania Olympic Qualification Tournament for Boxing was 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.
The Indian pugilists had already booked 8 quota places, 4 in the men's category and 4 in the women's category, for the Tokyo Olympics 2020 by virtue of reaching the semi-finals at these qualifiers.
India had a chance to bag another 2 quota places on the final day with two losing quarter-finalists, Manish Kaushik (men's 63 kg) and Sachin Kumar (men's 81 kg), being involved in a box-off with their opponents to determine the qualifiers.
Vikas Krishan and Simranjit Kaur, the two Indian boxers to have qualified for the finals, were also supposed to fight for the Gold medal in their respective weight categories on Wednesday.
The heart of the matter
India finished its campaign at the Asia-Oceania zone Olympic Boxing Qualifiers with 2 silver medals and 6 bronze medals. But the highlight of the campaign was the 9 quota places secured by the Indian pugilists for the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
On the final day of competitions, Simranjit Kaur lost her finals encounter while Vikas Krishan had to pull out of the finals due to an injury with both having to be content with a silver medal each.
There was some good news for India on the final day with Manish Kaushik winning his box-off to become the ninth Indian boxer to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. But Sachin Kumar could not replicate this performance as he lost his box-off encounter to miss out on an opportunity to qualify for the Olympics.
Simranjit was defeated by Oh Yeonji of South Korea in the women's 60 kg weight category with a unanimous 5-0 verdict going against her.
The 1st round of the bout was evenly contested with the Korean sneaking a split 3-2 verdict in her favour with 3 judges scoring the round 10-9 for the Korean and 2 judges scoring the round 10-9 for the Indian.
The final 2 rounds were more one-sided with Simranjit getting out-punched by her rival. Oh got a unanimous 5-0 verdict from the judges in both these rounds with all the 5 judges scoring the 2 rounds 10-9 in favour of the Korean. This resulted in the Korean prevailing in the bout with a unanimous 5-0 verdict, the final judges' scorecards reading 30-27, 30-27, 30-27, 29-28, 29-28.
Vikas on the other hand, had to concede a walkover in his final encounter in the men's 69 kg weight category due to a cut sustained near his eyebrow by an accidental bumping of heads during the 2nd round of his semi-final win.
Manish got some cheer to the Indian boxing contingent as he 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. The win gave India a 9th quota place in boxing at the Tokyo Olympics, the most at any of the Olympics, the previous highest being 8 at the 2012 London Olympics.
Manish was the dominant boxer especially in the first 2 rounds and finished the bout with a split 4-1 verdict in his favour. The final judges' scorecards read 29-28, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28, 28-29 in favour of Manish.
But Sachin could not maintain the winning momentum and was defeated by Shabbos Negmatulloev of Tajikistan in the men's 81 kg weight category with a unanimous 5-0 verdict going against him.
Sachin started off brightly and won a 3-2 verdict from the judges in a keenly contested 1st round with 3 judges scoring the round 10-9 in favour of the Indian and the other 2 judges scoring it 10-9 in favour of the Tajik. But Negmatulloev came out in a barnstorming fashion in the 2nd round and totally out-punched Sachin in the last 2 rounds, with the Indian appearing to be totally exhausted.
All the 5 judges scored the last 2 rounds 10-9 in favour of the Tajik boxer enabling him to emerge a unanimous 5-0 victor with the judges' scorecards reading 30-27, 30-27, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28.
The 9 Indian pugilists who have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics 2020, would want to perform to their potential at the quadrennial sporting extravaganza and bag as many medals as possible.
The Indian boxers would also be hoping to qualify for the Olympics in the remaining 4 weight categories through the World Olympic Qualifying Tournament to be held in Paris from 13th to 20th May.
Also Checkout: Tokyo 2020 Olympic Schedule