India’s boxing contingent for the Asian Championships next month would see Asian gold medalist Amit Panghal making his debut in the 52kg category instead of his preferred 49kg. While the likes of Shiva Thapa, Satish Kumar, and others feature alongside Panghal, Mary Kom has pulled out of the event.
Panghal has just won a gold for the second successive time in the 49kg category at the prestigious Strandja Memorial Tournament in Bulgaria last month. However, with his preferred category dropped from the Olympic roster, the Indian boxer was forced to shift his category and prepare for the 2020 Olympics. He would be making his competitive debut in that category in the Asian Championships, which has been scheduled to be held in Bangkok from April 19 to 28.
Apart from Panghal, India’s boxing team would also have the celebrated Shiva Thapa in the 60kg category, who would be aiming to finish with his fourth successive medal in the tournament. The boxer from Assam has previously won a gold medal in 2013, a bronze in 2015, and a silver medal in 2017. However, 60kg also dropped from the Olympics and Thapa would have to shift to the 63kg category for the Olympics as well.
The boxing contingent released for the Championships also has the names of national champion Deepak Singh in the 49kg category, who recently won the gold in Iran’s Makran Cup, Kavinder Singh Bisht in the 56kg category, who has just won the GeeBee Tournament, and Satish Kumar from the +91kg division, who clinched the bronze medal at the 2015 Asian Championships.
"The boxers who win gold or silver medals at the Asian Championships in the Olympic weight categories will be our automatic choices for the world championships later this year," said national coach C A Kuttappa reported PTI.
Not the Asian Championships, but the World Championships would be conducted in the new Olympic weight categories, which has been scheduled from September 7 to 21 in Yekaterinburg, Russia. The event would also double up as the qualifier for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The other categories to have dropped from the Olympic roster, apart from the 49kg and 60kg division, are 56kg, 64kg and the International Boxing Association (AIBA) has brought back 57kg and introduced the 63kg division.
The women's competition would be held simultaneously with the men's event at the continental showpiece, and India’s star boxer M C Mary Kom has pulled out of it to focus on the world championships and Olympic qualification.
Asian Championships men's team:
Deepak (49kg) Amit Panghal (52kg), Kavinder Singh Bisht (56kg), Shiva Thapa (60kg), Rohit Tokas (64kg), Ashish (69kg), Ashish Kumar (75kg), Brijesh yadav (81kg), Naman Tanwar (91kg), Satish Kumar (+91kg).
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