Indian pugilists set sight on Paris Olympic berths in Italy

As the first World Qualification Tournament kicks off in Busto Arsizio, Italy on Sunday, nine Indian boxers,

New Delhi, March 2 (IANS) As the first World Qualification Tournament kicks off in Busto Arsizio, Italy on Sunday, nine Indian boxers, including seasoned veterans Shiva Thapa, Deepak Bhoria, and Nishant Dev, are gearing up to battle for coveted spots at the Paris Olympics.

With seven men and two women from India aiming to secure Olympic berths, the stakes are high at the qualifiers conducted by the Paris 2024 Boxing Unit (PBU), an ad-hoc body created by the International Olympic Committee Executive Board offering 49 quota places. A boxer reaching the semifinals will clinch a ticket to Paris.

In the women’s 60kg category, a box-off between the losing semifinalists will determine the Olympic berths due to only three spots being available.

While some boxers have already secured quota places through continental events, world-class competitors like Colombia’s Yuberjen Martinez, Japan’s Tomoya Tsuboi, Kazakhstan’s Makhmud Sabyrkhan, and Venezuela’s Yoel Finol are vying for spots in Italy.

India’s hopes are pinned on the likes of Mohammad Hussamuddin (57kg), Deepak Bhoria (51kg), and Nishant Dev (71kg), all 2023 world championship medallists, along with the experienced Shiva Thapa and former Asian champion Sanjeet.

Two-time Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Hussamuddin returns to the ring after surgery, while expectations are high for Thapa (63.5kg) and Sanjeet (92kg) to deliver.

In the women’s category, Jaismine Lamboria faces tough competition in the 60kg division, while former youth world champion Ankushita Boro aims to secure her spot despite strong competition.

Notably, boxers like Nikhat Zareen, Lovlina Borgohain, and others have already booked their tickets to Paris. However, the upcoming tournament in Italy isn’t the final opportunity, as the last qualifying event will be held in May-June in Thailand.

Squad: Women: Jaismine Lamboria (60kg), Ankushita Boro (66kg).

Men: Deepak Bhoria (51kg), Mohammad Hussamuddin (57kg), Shiva Thapa (63.5kg), Nishant Dev (71kg), Lakshya Chahar (80kg), Sanjeet (92kg), Narender Berwal (+92kg).

–IANS/hs/

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