Another large contingent that is headed to Tokyo is the Indian boxing team comprising Asian Champions and former World Champions. All these individuals have fought valiantly to get to where they are and we take a brief look at their journey to the Olympics.
MC Mary Kom-51kg
By now it can be assumed that Mary Kom will continue to compete in all major international boxing events until she finally decides to hang up he boots.(hopefully not too soon). The 6 time World Champion and former bronze medallist at the Olympics has another opportunity to finally win the elusive gold at Tokyo this year. In the Asian Olympic qualifiers, she defeated Irish Magno from the Philippines in the quarter finals despite it being an evenly contested match up for a majority of the bout.
She overcame the disappointment faced by her upon her non qualification for the Rio Olympics by qualifying for the semi-finals of the Asian Boxing Championships. Pooja Rani defeated Thai boxer Pornipa Chutee in the quarterfinals of the Asian qualifiers in a dominant display.
She has been a medal winner at the Asian Championships in 2019 and it only seemed fair that her assertive displays at the international level would land her a place at Tokyo. Simranjit Kaur overcame the challenge laid down by Namuun Monkhor in the quarterfinal round to secure a place for herself in the Olympics.
Her consistent performances in the 2018 and 2019 World Championships allowed her experience to prevail in the Asian Olympic Qualifiers. The two time World Championships bronze winner dominated her run of matches till the quarterfinals where a dominant display over Maftunakhon Melieva of Uzbekistan took her through to the semi-finals at the Asian Qualifier event.
Heavily touted to be a medal winner at this years Olympics, Amit Phangal is a former Asian Games gold medallist, among many national and international level accolades to his name. In the Asian Olympic qualifiers, he staged a stunning comeback in his match up against Carlo Paalam in the quarterfinals despite losing the first round. He is set to make his debut at this years games will be raring to go given his wealth of experience in such a short career.
Manish Kaushik booked his place at the Tokyo Olympics through a split decision meted out by the judges at the Asian Olympic Qualifiers. He had progressed well until the quarterfinals where he was knocked out by Chinzorig Baatarsukh of Mongolia. However there was still another opportunity in the 63kg weight category that allowed him a one-time chance in a face off with Australia's Harry Garside. He won this bout and subsequently progressed through to the Olympics in the 6 places allotted for his category.
One of the most experienced members of the contingent will be appearing for his third Olympics this time. He qualified in the Asian Olympic event by defeating Japanese boxer Sewonrets Okazawa. Prior to it, Vikas Krishan had won a gold medal at the South Asian Games and was in fine form in the build up to the Asian Olympic Qualifiers.
His story is not just about what he overcame inside the boxing ring. Ashish Kumar unfortunately lost his father a few months prior to the Olympic qualification in the Asian Olympic qualifiers. His journey is inspirational to say the least and overcoming Maikhel Muskita in the 75kg round quarterfinals helped him book a place on the plane to Tokyo. He however lost out narrowly in the semi finals by a split decision in his opponents favour.
His struggle was long and hard given that Satish Kumar will be competing in his maiden Olympics. In doing so, he has become the first Indian to qualify for the super heavy weight event of the Olympics. He is a former medallist in the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Championships and also is a 5 time National Champion. He reached the semi finals of the Asian Olympic qualifiers and was up against Daivii Otgonbayar of Mongolia. He however breezed through this round as well with a 5-0 victory to his name. This ensured his qualification for the Olympics despite losing out in the Semi Finals.
The contingent looks set to remain the same as there have been various modifications and alterations to the qualification events that have gone on over the past few months. The recent decision of the IOC to scrap the Paris rounds of boxing qualifiers has hurt the chances of several Indian boxers who were looking to secure last minute quota places at the Olympics. It remains to be seen what transpires over the next few weeks.