AMMAN (Jordan) – World Championships silver medallist Amit Panghal (52kg) defeated Carlo Paalam of Philippines 4-1 to secure the sixth quota for India at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by entering the semifinals of the Asian/Oceanian Olympic Qualifiers here March 9.
World Championships bronze medallist Manish Kaushik (63kg), however, went down 2-3 to third seed and Asian Games silver medallist Chinzorig Baatarsukh of Mongolia in a hard-fought quarterfinal.
Kaushik can still fulfil his Olympic dream as with six boxers qualifying from 63kg, he will get one more chance with a box-off opportunity, where the losing quarterfinalists will get yet another shot. Manish will face Harrison Garside of Australia in the box-off bout March 11 and a win will secure his Olympic quota.
However, it was the end of the road for former world youth champion Sakshi Chaudhary (57kg) who was blanked 0-5 by Korea's Im Aeji in the quarterfinal.
Panghal, who was the lone bright spot for the Indian contingent in the first session March 9, had earlier beaten his opponent in the semifinal of the 2018 Asian Games and the quarterfinal of the 2019 World Championships as well.
The familiarity helped him stave off a late resistance from the Southeast Asian Games gold medallist and book his Olympic berth for the very first time.
"I had played my opponent twice and had beaten him on both occasions. I executed whatever strategy my coaches had chalked out. I am glad to book the Olympic quota. In the next round, I play a Chinese boxer whom I have beaten before at the Asian Championships. The aim is to repeat the feat and move into the final," Panghal said.
He will next take on China's Hu Jianguan, a bronze medallist at the Rio Olympics as well as the 2019 Asian Championships.
Later in the day, London Olympics bronze medallist Mary Kom (51kg) will aim for her second ticket to the mega quadrennial Games when she faces Irish Magno of Philippines.