Vikas, Simranjit enter final of Olympic Qualifiers as Mary Kom settles for bronze

Vikas Krishan and Simranjit Kaur advanced to the final, while Amit Panghal and Mary Kom won bronze at the Asian Olympic Qualifiers.

Amit Panghal along with coaches after qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics.   -  Special Arrangement

Commonwealth Games gold medallist Vikas Krishan (69kg) and former World Championships bronze medallist Simranjit Kaur (60kg) cruised into the finals of of the Asian/Oceania Olympic Qualifiers in Amman, while Sachin Kumar (81kg) won the first of his two box-off bouts to keep India in the hunt for the highest-ever Olympic quota haul.

However, there was disappointment as well for India as six-time world champion Mary Kom (51kg) and World Championships silver medallist Amit Panghal (52kg) had to settle for bronze, along with Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) and Pooja Rani (75kg).

The Indian pugilists who did not manage to claim an 2020 Tokyo Olympics berth here will have another chance to do so at the World Qualifiers set to be held in Paris in May.

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Krishan’s steely resolve stood out on a day of mixed fortunes for the Indian contingent. Despite suffering a cut below his left eyebrow, the former Asian Games gold medallist refused to bow out and knocked out second seed and World Championships bronze medallist Ablaikhan Zhussupov of Kazakhstan in a 3-2 verdict. Krishan will face Eishaih Hussein of Jordan in Wednesday's final.

Simranjit's tactical brilliance saw her overcome the challenge posed by Chinese Taipei’s Asian Championships silver medallist Shih-Yi Wu and secured a 4-1 win to set up a final showdown with former two-time Asian champion Oh Yeon Ji of South Korea.

RELATED| Qualification done, Vikas Krishan now aims Olympic gold

A day after booking her second appearance at the Olympics, Mary put up a gritty fight against the reigning Asian Games champion Yuan Chang but it was not to be as the Chinese prevailed 3-2 in a closely-contested bout.

In the other bouts of the day, Panghal went down to Rio Olympic bronze medallist Jianguan Hu of China 2-3, having beaten him at the 2019 Asian Championships. Two-time World Championships bronze medallist Lovlina was blanked 0-5 by China’s Hong Gu in her semifinal, while Asian champion Pooja Rani (75kg) suffered the same fate at the hands of Olympic bronze medallist Qian Li of China.

Sachin Kumar (81 kg) defeated Manh Cuong Nguyen of Vietnam 4-1 in the first box-off bout and will next face Tajikistan's Shabbos Negmatulloev in the final box-off bout tomorrow for the Olympic quota.

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