How Indian boxers can qualify for the 2020 Olympics

Everything you need to know about the qualification route to the 2020 Olympics for Indian boxers.

Preparing for the upcoming boxing Olympic qualifiers, India will be keen on enhancing their proud boxing history at the 2020 Olympics later this year. So far, they have clinched two bronze medals in the discipline in the past courtesy of Vijender Singh and MC Mary Kom, who won bronze in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics respectively.

Despite the lack of success in the last edition of the Games, India’s new breed of boxers and seasoned stars offer reason for optimism.

They will be eager to offset the disappointment of Rio 2016, where India didn’t win any medal in boxing for men and didn't even have a pugilist qualify in the women's draw.

To make it to the 2020 Olympics, the boxers must qualify for sports’ showpiece event through the newly conceived system set up by the Olympic Boxing Task Force.

Ever since the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) decision to suspend the International Boxing Association (AIBA), the Olympic Boxing Task Force was created to deliver the sport at the 2020 Olympics.

The decision came to pass following recommendations from the IOC's Inquiry Committee in November 2018.

India's Amit Panghal is a medal prospect at Tokyo 2020
India's Amit Panghal is a medal prospect at Tokyo 2020India's Amit Panghal is a medal prospect at Tokyo 2020

How to qualify for the 2020 Olympics boxing event

The Olympic Boxing Task Force came up with a new qualifying system with five qualifying tournaments deciding who will go to Tokyo. These qualifying tournaments give each boxer two opportunities to get an Olympic ticket with the first being the continental qualifying tournament

The second route to qualification for Tokyo is through the world qualifying event that will be open to athletes from the National Olympic Committees (NOC's) who are yet to obtain a quota place in a weight class.

India’s pugilists will thus have their first opportunity to qualify for the 2020 Olympics through the continental qualifying tournament that’s slated to take place from March 3 to 11 in Jordan.

Originally scheduled to take place between 3 to 11 February in Wuhan, the boxing Olympic qualifiers had to be rescheduled and relocated to Amman, the capital of Jordan, following the outbreak of the coronavirus in China.

Weight classes for the 2020 Olympics

Men will compete across eight weight classes:

·         Flyweight (52kg)

·         Featherweight (57kg)

·         Lightweight (63kg)

·         Welterweight (69kg)

·         Middleweight (75kg)

·         Light heavyweight (81kg)

·         Heavyweight (91kg)

·         Super heavyweight (+91kg)

Women will compete across five weight classes:

·         Flyweight (51kg)

·         Featherweight (57kg)

·         Lightweight (60kg)

·         Welterweight (69kg)

·         Middleweight (75kg)

Indian boxing queen MC Mary Kom has qualified for her second Olympics  
Indian boxing queen MC Mary Kom has qualified for her second Olympics  Indian boxing queen MC Mary Kom has qualified for her second Olympics  

Number of berths

There are a total of 41 spots up for grabs available across the eight categories for men’s in the Asia/Oceania qualifiers and 22 for women across its five categories.

Six boxers will qualify from Flyweight (52kg), Featherweight (57kg) and Lightweight (63kg), five from Welterweight (69kg), Middleweight (75kg) and Light heavyweight (81kg), and four from Heavyweight (91kg) and Super heavyweight (+91kg).

The women’s Flyweight (51kg), meanwhile, has as many as six qualification berths, while the rest of the four categories for women’s have four spots up for grabs, meaning all four semi-finalists in them go to Tokyo.

The weight categories that offer more than four berths will be decided through a box off, where the four losing quarter-finalists fight against each other for a spot.

The Indian boxing contenders

India’s men’s contingent will have Amit Panghal (52kg), Gaurav Solanki (57kg), Manish Kaushik (63 kg), Vikas Krishan (69kg), Ashish Kumar (75kg), Sachin Kumar (81kg), Naman Tanwar (91kg) and Satish Kumar (+91kg) representing the country.

The women’s squad will see MC Mary Kom returning to the 51kg category, besides Sakshi Chaudhary (57kg), Simranjit Kaur (60kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) and Pooja Rani (75kg) looking to qualify in the other categories.

While the four semifinalists are guaranteed to earn a place at Tokyo 2020, the losing quarter-finalists will have to come through a box-off to win the remaining spots in weight categories that offer five or six places.

Boxers to watch out for in the qualifiers

Bronze-medallist from the 2012 Olympic Games, MC Mary Kom is looking to seal a spot for herself in the women’s 51kg category as she looks to add another chapter to her incredible career.

Tokyo 2020 will be MC Mary Kom’s last Olympics since she’ll be above 40 years of age and no longer eligible to take part in boxing by the time the next Olympics happens.

Number three in her category according to the IOC’s Boxing Task Force, Lovlina Borgohain will be keen to make a mark for India in the women's welterweight class.

One of he biggest hope for Indian boxing in Japan, however, has to be Amit Panghal.

Winner of the Asian Games gold in 2018 and a silver in the World Boxing Championships in the 52kg category last year, hopes are high that he can be another Indian to qualify for the 2020 Olympics.

Manish Kaushik is another individual that’s expected to impress after a bronze medal finish on his World Championships debut. Vikas Krishan, who is returning from the pro circuit, for a shot at a third successive Olympics is another to keep an eye on.

Where to watch the boxing Olympic qualifiers

The Asia/Oceania boxing Olympic qualifiers in Amman, Jordan will be streamed live on the Olympic Channel website from March 3 to 11.

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