Asian Olympic Qualifiers: Panghal, Kom two wins away from Tokyo 2020 berth

The tournament has 63 quota places on offer and a boxer will be assured for a Tokyo ticket on reaching the semifinals stage.

The draw for the Asian/Oceanic Olympic Qualifiers makes the road map to secure 2020 Olympics berths clear for the Indian contingent.   -  Special arrangement

The draw for the Asian/Oceanic Olympic Qualifiers scheduled to be held in Amman, Jordan from March 3-11 was announced on Monday.

The draw makes the road map to secure 2020 Olympics berths clear for the Indian contingent. The tournament has 63 quota places on offer and a boxer will be assured for a Tokyo ticket on reaching the semifinals stage.

READ: Asian Olympic Qualifiers: Amit Panghal gets top billing, Mary Kom seeded second

How many wins to Tokyo?

According to the fixtures, two-time World Championships bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), Asian Championships gold medallist Pooja Rani (75kg) and Commonwealth Games silver medallist Satish Kumar (+91kg) are one win away from qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics. World Championships silver medallist Amit Panghal (52kg) and six-time world champion Mary Kom (51kg) will also make the cut for Tokyo if they win their first two bouts and reach the semifinals.

Manish Kaushik, who won a World Championships bronze medal in the 63kg category, Commonwealth Games gold medallist Vikas Krishan who fights in the 69kg category, Sachin Kumar (81kg) and Naman Tanwar (91kg) have more work to do and need to win a couple of rounds to make it to Tokyo. Ashish Kumar, who has an Asian Championships silver medal in the 75kg category and Commonwealth Games gold medallist in the 57kg category, Gaurav Solanki, need three wins each to secure a berth.

A semifinal berth is what eight male and five female pugilists need to remain in contention for a Tokyo Olympic berth in the event.

“Our boxers have trained well and they are well prepared. We are confident many of our boxers will be able to qualify,” said India’s High Performance Director, Santiago Nieva.

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The tournament has 63 quota places on offer and a boxer will be assured for a Tokyo ticket on reaching the semifinals stage.   -  Special Arrangement

Former World Championships bronze medallist Simranjit Kaur (60kg) and Sakshi (57kg) too need to win two rounds to realise their Olympic dreams.

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Who will the Indians face?

Mary Kom's first big challenge comes in the form of third seed, Vietnam's Tam Thi Nguyen. As the draw goes, Mary is likely to meet Nguyen in the semis. The 2018 Asian Games bronze medallist is capable of giving Mary a hard time.

Panghal will be looking to channel his World Championship momentum as he starts off his campaign against the winner of the bout between Mongolia’s Enkhmanadakh Kharkhuu and Tajikistan’s Shuhrat Sabzaliev.

Kazakhstan’s Saken Bibossinov, bronze medallist at the World Championships last year, is likely to be Panghal’s opponent in the semis with the second seed and reigning Olympic champion Shakhobidin Zoirov following in the final.

“We have a good chance of securing multiple qualifications after a solid training session in Italy. Looking forward to the boxers giving their very best,” said Raffaele Bergamasco, the Performance Director of Indian women’s boxing.

On Tuesday, Solanki (57kg) and Ashish (75kg) will start their quest as they play their first-round bouts.