Amman, March 9: India's star boxer and World Championships silver-medallist Amit Panghal (52kg) became the sixth boxer to secure a quota for the Tokyo Olympics 2020 after he defeated Carlo Paalam of Philippines 4-1 and entering the semi-finals of the Asian/Oceanian Olympic Qualifiers in Amman, Jordan Tuesday (March 9).
However, World Championships bronze medallist Manish Kaushik (63kg) went down 2-3 to third seed and Asian Games silver medallist Chinzorig Baatarsukh of Mongolia in a hard-fought quarter-final.
Kaushik can still fulfil his Olympic dream as with 6 boxers qualifying from 63kg, he will get once more chance with a box-off opportunity, where the losing quarterfinalist players will have yet another shot.
In his quest, Manish will face Harrison Garside of Australia in the box-off bout on 11th and a win there will secure his Olympic quota.
It was, however, the end of the road in the Asian Qualifiers for former world youth champion Sakshi Chaudhary (57kg) who was blanked 0-5 by Korea's Im Aeji in the quarter-finals.
Panghal, who was the lone bright spot for the Indian contingent in the first session on Tuesday, had earlier beaten his opponent in the semi-finals of the 2018 Asian Games and the quarter-finals of the 2019 World Championships as well. The familiarity helped him stave off a late resistance from the Southeast Asian Games gold medallist and book his Olympic berth for the very first time.
"I had played my opponent twice and had beaten him as well. I came with a lot of confidence to get the win this time too. I executed whatever strategy my coaches had chalked out. I am glad that gave me the win as well as the Olympic quota. In the next round, I play a Chinese boxer whom I have beaten before at the Asian Championships. The aim is to repeat it and move into the final," said the Asian Games champion after his win.
The Haryana boxer dedicated his win to his uncle who is celebrating his birthday on Tuesday.
He will next take on China's Hu Jianguan, a bronze medallist at the Rio Olympics as well as the 2019 Asian Championships.
Later in the day, London Olympic bronze medallist Mary Kom (51kg) will aim for her second ticket to the mega quadrennial Games when she faces Irish Magno of Philippines.
(With inputs from BFI Release)