Tokyo 2020: Manish Kaushik becomes ninth Indian boxer to qualify for Olympics

It was a repeat of the 2018 Commonwealth Games final, only this time Manish Kaushik got the better of Australia’s Harrison Garside.

Manish Kaushik won his 63 kg box-off to seal his spot at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Manish Kaushik won his 63 kg box-off to seal his spot at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.   -  PTI

Manish Kaushik (63kg) on Wednesday became the ninth Indian boxer to qualify for Tokyo Olympics after beating Australia’s Harrison Garside in a box-off at the Asian Qualifiers.

Kaushik defeated the Commonwealth Games champion and second seed Garside 4-1 to book his maiden ticket to the quadrennial showpiece after a showdown which saw the Australian fighting with a bloodied face and the Indian braving some painful blows to his ribs.

It was a repeat of the 2018 CWG final, only this time Kaushik ended up on the winning side. “It was my dream to play at the Olympics and today it has finally come true for me and my family. My coaches have made a huge contribution in this,” Kaushik, an Armyman, said after the win.

The top six in the 63kg category were entitled to Olympic berths in the ongoing event. Both Kaushik and Garside had lost in the quarterfinals.

READ | Mary Kom qualifies for Tokyo Olympics

Earlier, Olympic-bound Commonwealth Games champion Vikas Krishan (69kg) signed off with a silver medal after an eye injury forced him to pull out of the final.

Krishan, a world and Asian medallist, was to take on Jordan’s Zeyad Eashash in the summit clash.

“He will not compete because of the cut. He has been told by the doctors to pull out,” a source close to the boxer told PTI.

He defeated second seed Ablaikhan Zhussupov of Kazakhstan, a two-time world bronze-medallist, in the semifinals on Tuesday. He sustained a cut on his left eyelid in the second round of the bout before claiming a split decision victory.

"It is a moment of pride for Indian boxing. For the first time ever, nine Indian pugilists have qualified for the Olympics and that too at the first qualifying event. We still have the World Qualifiers in May and I am confident that India will qualify in all 13 categories," said Boxing Federation of India (BFI) president Ajay Singh after Kaushik secured a Tokyo berth.

"Our mission is to win Olympic medals and these nine qualifications are an indication of the potential that Indian boxers possess. Having qualified at the first qualification event will give them a big boost and will motivate them to work harder. On our part, we along with the Sports Ministry and SAI will ensure that we provide them with the best possible infrastructure and support to meet the end objective," he added.

The other Indians to have qualified for Tokyo Olympics are M C Mary Kom (51kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), Pooja Rani (75kg), Amit Panghal (52kg), Ashish Kumar (75kg) and Satish Kumar (+91kg).