Ekaterinburg (Russia): Amit Panghal (52kg) and Manish Kaushik (63kg) have made the Indian boxing squad for next year's Olympic Qualifiers owing to their medal-winning show at the ongoing world championships. Panghal and Kaushik have entered the semifinals here, making it the first time when India have more than one boxer left in fray for the medal rounds of the marquee event.
The Boxing Federation of India (BFI) had made it clear that boxers who win medals at the world championships will be automatic picks for the Olympic qualifiers scheduled in February in China. "Yes, Amit and Manish will be going to the qualifiers. There will not be any trials in their weight categories now," Indian Boxing's High Performance Director Santiago Nieva told PTI.
The rest of the squad will be picked on the basis of camp performance, points accumulated at international events and in some cases, trials. While Panghal will face Kazakhstan's Saken Bibossinov in the last-four stage, Kaushik will be up against top seeded Cuban Andy Gomez Cruz in his semifinal clash. The 23-year-old Panghal and the 25-year-old Kaushik will be gunning for their maiden Olympic spots next year.
Both rose to prominence after the 2016 Rio Games, where India drew a blank in boxing. While Panghal has gold medals in the 2018 Asian Games as well as this year's Asian Championships apart from the now assured world medal, Kaushik won a silver medal in the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Kaushik is also a former national champion.