Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Boxers Panghal, Jaismine punch their way to Paris


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Bangkok, June 2: World championships silver medallist boxer Amit Panghal’s (51kg) remarkable comeback to the national team culminated in an Olympic berth while Jaismine Lamboria reclaimed the women’s 57kg quota for India at the 2nd World Qualification Tournament here on Sunday.
Panghal, India’s lone world championships silver medallist, notched a hard-fought 5-0 win over China’s Chuang Liu in the 51kg quarterfinals to punch a ticket to his second Olympic Games.
Jaismine, who dropped down from 60kg, then followed suit as she outplayed Marine Camara of Mali with an identical 5-0 margin in the quarterfinals to secure a maiden appearance in the quadrennial showpiece.
India had surrendered the women’s 57kg quota after holder and 2022 world championships bronze medallist Parveen Hooda was suspended for whereabout failure last month. Both weight classes – men’s 51kg and women’s 57kg – had four quotas each on offer here at the last qualifying tournament.
Panghal, a multiple time Asian Championships and Commonwealth Games medallist, had only one shot at making the Paris Olympics and the 2018 Asian Games champion seized the opportunity. He looked scrappy in his opening bout but shrugged off the rust.
The going has been tough for Panghal as he lost his place in the national team on the basis of BFI’s evaluation system to world championship bronze medallist Deepak Bhoria, who competed at the earlier two qualifying events.
The quarterfinal bout began on a rather sedate note with both boxers trying to assess each other. One minute into the bout, Liu went after Panghal. At an height disadvantage, the Indian struggled to find his range, and he did manage to land a couple of scoring shots but didn’t engage much.
Trailing 1-4, Panghal, a three-time Asian Championship medallist, changed his strategy. He went on the offensive, beginning the second round on a positive note.
The Chinese boxer retaliated by launching some counterattacking blows but Panghal continued with his combination of jabs and uppercuts and ended the round on a high, forcing all five judges to rule in his favour.
In the last three minutes, Liu changed his game and moved closer to Panghal.
It was an energy sapping affair as both fighters traded punches, going hammer and tongs at each other. In the end, the former world number one prevailed.
Panghal, Jaismine and Nishant Dev (71kg), who won the quota on Friday, thus joined Nikhat Zareen (50kg), Preeti Pawar (54kg) and Lovlina Borgohain (75kg), who had booked Olympic berths at the Asian Games last year. (PTI)


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