Astana, Kazakhstan: Indian boxers created history at the AIBA Asian Olympic Qualifying Event in Astana, Kazakhstan on Wednesday with 2010 Youth Asian Championship silver medallist Sumit Sangwan (81kg) and 2010 Youth Olympics silver medallist Shiva Thapa (56kg) booking their tickets for 2012 London Olympics.
The evening session of play witnessed Sumit overpower 2009 Asian Championship bronze medallist Ihab Almatdault of Jordan to advance into the finals of light heavy weight division. The 19-year-old now becomes the seventh Indian boxer to have qualified for the Olympics.
The London Olympiad, this year, will have a record number of seven Indian boxers participating. Five Indian pugilists had participated in 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Sumit started strongly taking the charge to his opponent. Making good use of his long reaching arms and height, he quickly took a two point lead after the opening round (5:3). Almatdault came out with some high flying combinations, but the powerful Jordanian boxer failed to connect. Sumit on the other hand was impeccable with his counter attacks – his left jab doing the trick on many occasions. By the end of second round he was leading by seven points.
The final three minutes of play and the 34th Nationals Games gold medallist continued to add points with his relentless left jabs and hooks. He finally claimed victory with a 24:12 points to move into the final stage of the championship. Sangwan is now assured of at least a silver medal finish from the tournament.
But the Indian camp suffered a setback in the super heavy weight class. Commonwealth Games gold medallist Paramjeet Samota (+91kg) came up short against some powerful and intelligent hitting from 2007 Asian Championship silver medallist Soumar Ghossoun of Syria. The bout was evenly matched half way through the opening round but from there on Ghossoun took the game away from Samota with his effective with his combinations and counters jab. The 23 year old Indian’s Olympic dreams were cut short with a 12:23 loss.
Earlier in the day Shiva qualified for the London Games after another brilliant performance. The 18 year old young rising star of Indian boxing was in top form as he devoured Satoshi Shimizu of Japan, to advance into the finals of the bantam weight division.
Unfortunately the Indian contingent suffered losses in the other two bouts of the afternoon session. While Beijing Olympic bronze medallist Vijender Singh (75kg) lost to 2011 Asian Championship bronze medallist Nursahat Pazziyev of Turkmenistan, 2010 Asian Games silver medallist Manpreet Singh (91kg) was beaten by Asian Games bronze medallist Ali Mazaheri of Iran.
The final day of the championship on Thursday (12th Apr 2012) will witness two Indian boxer stake a claim for the yellow metal. While, Sangwan will lock horns with 2010 Asian Games bronze medallist Jakhon Qurbanov of Tajikistan in the summit clash of the light heavy weight division, Thapa takes on Asian Games bronze medallist Wessam Salamana of Syria in the final battle of the 56 kilogram weight.