Indian legend Mary Kom, Amit Panghal, Gaurav Solanki will be in action on Saturday.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist Vikas Krishan (69kg) put up a dominating performance to begin his campaign with a 5-0 victory against Kyrgyzstan’s Nursultan Mamataly at the Asian/Oceanian Olympic Qualifiers in Amman, Jordan.
The former Asian Games gold medallist hardly put a foot wrong in a powerful display to storm into the quarter-finals, where he will meet the third seed Quincy Mensah Sewonrets Okazawa of Japan. One more win will see Krishan book his ticket to Tokyo Olympics.
On Saturday, London Olympic bronze medallist Mary Kom (51kg) and World Championships silver medallist Amit Panghal (52kg) will begin their quest while Commonwealth Games champion Gaurav Solanki (57kg) will meet the top seed and world champion Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov of Uzbekistan in the second round.
Mary’s hunger at the age of 37 has been exemplary as she sets her sights on qualifying for the Olympics for a second time. Riding on a deep desire to bring gold for the country, Mary Kom has been putting in the hard yards at training a few months after earning a bronze at the World Championships.
She became the first boxer– male or female–to win a staggering eight medals from the prestigious world event.
The six-time world champion has been seeded second in her category and she will face New Zealand’s Tasmyn Benny in the first round. Two wins will take her to Tokyo in what could realistically be her last appearance at the mega quadrennial Games and Mary will do everything possible to finish her Olympic career with the highly-coveted gold medal.
“Mary knows that this is her last Olympics and wants to do her best to close her dream with a medal. She has worked hard especially the reactivity work on the legs as well and has been working hard to be in good shape”, said Foreign Coach for Indian women’s boxing, Raffaele Bergamasco.
As for Panghal, he is currently enjoying a purple patch of his career. A gold medal at the Asian Games was the start of his dominant show and he only soared to even greater heights in his next few elite tournaments.
With a gold medal at the Asian Championships and a historic silver at the World Championships, the sky is the limit for the 24-year-old, who will give his all to fulfil his Olympic dream.
He starts off his campaign against Mongolia’s Enkhmanadakh Kharkhuu after a first-round bye as the top seed in his category. He has a 1-1 record against his opponent. Determined as ever, Panghal is upbeat to avenge his defeat in his last meeting with Kharkuu and get his campaign off to a flying start.
“Amit boxed against him before in Asian Games and beat him one-sided and in the World Military Games, Amit lost by 5:0 to the same guy. We plan to create surprises in every round and I am sure Amit would like to even scores as he faces his opponent tomorrow”, said CA Kuttappa, India’s head boxing coach.