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What's next for Indian male boxers after missing Paris Olympics quota places at Qualifier 1?

Indian boxers registered a dismal outing at the World Boxing Olympic Qualifiers as they failed to secure a single quota place for Paris 2024.

Whats next for Indian male boxers after missing Paris Olympics quota places at Qualifier 1?

Deepak Bhoria, Mohammad Husamuddin, Nishant Dev and Shiva Thapa (from left to right). 


Deepanshu Jain

Updated: 12 March 2024 11:00 AM GMT

"The match goes to the boxer standing in the red corner." These were the final parting words from the world boxing qualifiers when India's shining star Nishant Dev's clinical run ended at the final huddle as he lost 1-4 to World Championships silver medallist Omari Jones of the USA in the quarterfinal on Monday.

Nishant's exit hit the final nail in the coffin of an already horrific outing for the Indian boxing contingent, especially for male boxers, who failed to secure a single quota place for India in the Paris Olympics for the second straight tournament.

The performance of Indian boxers in this tournament was not up to mark but still, one final opportunity will come in their corner in May.

The Bridge looks at the performances of Indian boxers at the tournament and their chances in the final qualifiers in Thailand:

Performance review

India sent a contingent of nine boxers to this tournament featuring seven male and two female players. But the start of the tournament was very horrendous as one after one, eight boxers suffered early exits.

Then, a ray of hope came when Nishant Dev started collecting a few wins and reached the quarterfinals with many comfortable wins but then on the final day, he also suffered a narrow defeat to end the Indian campaign without any quota places.

India already secured four Paris Olympics quota places before the tournament but all of them were in women's boxing - Nikhat Zareen (50kg), Preeti Pawar (54kg), Parveen Hooda (57kg) and Lovlina Borgohain (75kg). They clinched Paris 2024 quota places at the Asian Games last year.

India sent a contingent of nine boxers - five males and four females - to the Tokyo Olympics. But this time, India could not win a single quota place in the men's boxing section.

With only one qualification tournament left, India might face a decline in representation at the event.

Let's have a look at the few factors of what goes wrong in this tournament:

Poor Performance - Only one Indian boxer was able to win a match at this tournament which shows how bad our performance was there. Both female boxers Jasmine and Anushita Boro suffered early defeats to lesser-known opponents.

Tricky Draws - The competition in international boxing is really high and the rule of not using a seeding makes the draws imbalanced sometimes. The fact that six out of seven male boxers who suffered a first-round defeat witnessed their opponents securing the Paris Olympics quota places.

Decrease in no. of quotas - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has drastically dropped the available quota spots in the men's boxing. For example, Deepak Bhoria's flyweight category has only 16 quotas while the same event at the Tokyo Olympics had huge 28 quota places.

Lone star, Nishant Dev

The only brightening star in an otherwise dismal competition was the youngster Nishant Dev in men's 71kg. He was clinching win after win despite watching his fellow mates falling out like a deck of cards.

The former World Championships medallist booked a place in the quarterfinal for a head-on collision with Omari Jones of the USA. The winner had the opportunity to confirm their debut appearance at the Olympics.

The match started with Omari dominating the first round with agility, speed and swift footwork and clinched the first round unanimously. Nishant Dev assessed the situation well and bounced back with extra motivation in the second round.

He completely shifted the momentum of the game and forced Omari to the corners and found a few good punches to win the round 2 (4-1). When the final round began, with a tightly poised situation, Nishant continued his dominance and his punches landed an injury on Omari's face.

Two minutes passed in the final round, and the commentators excitedly said Nishant was the winner. But then came a twist and he was looking exhausted with excessive pushing by Omari. Still, it looked like a close victory for Nishant in the end but the judges thought otherwise and Omari was adjudged the winner.

Nishant in despair wasn't able to believe what was happening there and his dream of playing in the Olympics took a hit.

Expected changes

After this disappointing performance, we might see a few changes in the team before the final world boxing qualifiers. Deepak Bhoria, who now missed two opportunities to grab a quota place, might face a challenge from Olympian Amit Panghal in men's 51KG.

On the other hand, Arundhati Chaudhary, who has a very good start to the year, might replace Ankushita Boro in the women's 66kg category according to the criteria principle of the Boxing Federation of India (BFI).

Mohammad Husamuddin, who was making a comeback in the team after his injury, wasn't at his best in this tournament and might face a tough challenge from youngster Sachin Siwach in the men's 57kg.

What's next?

The World Boxing Olympic Qualifiers are scheduled to be held in Bangkok from May 23 to June 3 and will be the final opportunity for all the remaining boxers to secure a quota place. The event will be offering 3 to 5 quota places in each category.

Nishant Dev, who marginally missed a quota place in Busto Arsizio, will try to continue his momentum and grab the Paris spot while other boxers will get time to rethink and strategize their way into the competition.

The field at this competition will be reduced with four boxers already securing quota places. Hence, it will be a good opportunity for Indian boxers to confirm their berths.

The Indian contingent for the Paris Olympics is currently lying at 58 quota spots and with the women's hockey team already missing out on a quota place, it is more important for boxers to win a few more quota places if we want to get near the Indian contingent at Tokyo Olympics of 122 spots.

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