WORLD bronze-medallist Manish Kaushik (63kg) on Wednesday became the ninth Indian boxer to book an Olympic berth after winning a brutal box-off at the Asian Qualifiers as the country recorded its best ever qualifying numbers for the quadrennial showpiece. Kaushik defeated Harrison Garside 4-1 to make the cut for Tokyo 2020 after a draining showdown which left the Australian with a bloodied face and the Indian exhausted by painful hits to his ribs. It was a repeat of the 2018 CWG final, only this time, Kaushik ended up on the winning side.
The top six in the 63kg category were entitled to Olympic berths in the ongoing event. Both Kaushik and Garside had lost in the quarter-finals. “It was my dream to play at the Olympics and today it has finally come true for me and my family. My coaches have made a huge contribution in this,” Kaushik, an Armyman, said after the win.
The other Indians to have qualified for Tokyo Olympics are M C Mary Kom (51kg), Simranjit Kaur (60kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), Pooja Rani (75kg), Amit Panghal (52kg), Vikas Krishan (69kg), Ashish Kumar (75kg) and Satish Kumar (+91kg). Before this, India’s best qualifying number for an Olympic Games was eight for the 2012 edition in London.