Three Indian boxers, including top seeds M C Mary Kom (51kg) and Shiva Thapa (56kg), stood just one win away from clinching an Olympic berth after they advanced to the semifinals of the Asia/Oceania Qualifying Tournament here today.
Fourth seed L Devendro Singh (49kg) was the third Indian to enter the semifinals. With today’s wins, the three boxers are assured of at least bronze medals but will have to make the final to be assured of a ticket for Rio Games in August.
In case of Shiva and Devendro, they will have a shot at Olympic qualification even if they lose tomorrow as a box-off between the bronze-medallists will decide the third qualifier in the men’s draw.
The biggest disappointment today was former Asian champion L Sarita Devi (60kg) getting knocked out of contention after losing her quarterfinal bout 1-2 to Vietnam’s Luu Duyen.
Also falling by the wayside was Dheeraj Rangi (60kg), who went down 0-3 to Filipino Charly Suarez, seeded second in the draw. Five-time world champion and Olympic bronze-medallist Mary Kom competed in the first half of the day and put up a dominating show to beat Filipino Nesthy Petecio 3-0. The Manipuri veteran will be up against old foe Ren Cancan of China in the semifinals.
Cancan, a three-time world champion, had beaten Mary Kom in the semifinals of the 2010 Asian Games. Shiva and Devendro took the ring in the evening session and notched up contrasting victories to move ahead.
While World Championships bronze-medallist Shiva clinched a hard-fought 2-1 triumph over Japan’s Arashi Morisaka, Devendro outpunched Chinese Taipei’s Po-Wei Tu in his quarterfinal bout.
Shiva will be up against Kazakhstan’s Kairat Yeraliyev in the semifinal. Devendro, on the other hand, will face Filipino
Rogen Ladon tomorrow. The continental qualifiers have 30 Olympic berths on offer for men and six for women.