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Tokyo Olympics: Indian Boxers in Four Categories Set to Miss Chance to Qualify

The International Olympic Committee’s decision to scrap the Olympic world qualifiers for boxing, will hurt Indian boxers who are unlikely to make the cut and join the nine who have already qualified for the Tokyo Games.
Indian boxer Amit Panghal

Amit Panghal and eight other Indian boxers qualified for the Tokyo Olympics from the Asian event in Jordan last year, staged just before Covid-19 lockdowns.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) have scrapped the boxing Olympic world qualifiers citing the "challenges" posed by Covid-19. The cancelled event has put paid to India’s quest to add to a group of nine who have already made the cut for the Tokyo Games.

The world meet — the final qualifying event for the Games — was supposed to be staged after the European qualifiers scheduled in Paris in June. Only the African and Asian qualifiers have been completed so far and the tournaments for Europe and the Americas will be completed by June.

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"The 53 quota places (32 men and 21 women) planned to be allocated at the final World Olympic Qualifier will now be allocated equally across the four regions (Africa, Americas, Asia/Oceania and Europe) and all the weight categories," the IOC’s Boxing Task Force (BTF) stated in a release.

"This ensures a new reallocation pathway, which is based on international on-field results recorded over the past four years (2017-2021), including but not limited to the BTF Olympic Qualification Events," the IOC said of the new qualifying procedure.

India’s top boxers -- the medal hopefuls based on their rankings -- have already qualified for the Games. Amit Panghal (52kg), Manish Kaushik (63kg), Vikas Krishan (69kg), Ashish Kumar (75kg), Satish Kumar (+91kg), MC Mary Kom (51kg), Simranjit Kaur (60kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) and Pooja Rani (75kg) qualified at last year's Asian Qualifiers in Jordan, staged just before Covid-19 lockdown came into effect across the world. 

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The remaining categories in which Olympic slots are still up for grabs are the men's 57kg, 81kg and 91kg and women's 57kg. Indian boxers in these categories will miss out on a chance to qualify and their rankings may not be high enough to get them an entry via reallocated quota slots.

The IOC has taken over the conduct of boxing in the Tokyo Olympics after suspending the International Boxing Association, citing administrative mismanagement.

(With inputs from PTI)

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