By: Radhakrishna NS
FOUR-TIME Asian medallist Shiva Thapa (63kg) secured himself a medal at the Olympic Test event for boxing by winning his quarterfinal bout on Tuesday while six other Indians made the last-four stage without even stepping inside the ring here.
Thapa overpowered local favourite Yuki Hirakawa in a 5-0 verdict to fight his way into the medal rounds. The seasoned boxer from Assam claimed his third national title earlier this month.
He will be up against another Japanese, Daisuke Narimatsu, in the semifinals on Wednesday. Narimatsu got a bye in the opening round.
However, for his six other compatriots, including former junior world champion Nikhat Zareen (51kg), a medal was guaranteed without a fight as they either got byes or were helped by the small size of their respective draws.
Apart from Zareen, Asian silver-medallist Sumit Sangwan (91kg), Ashish (69kg), Vanhlimpuia (75kg), Simranjeet Kaur (60kg) and Pooja Rani (75kg) have made the semifinals.
Sangwan, who was crowned national champion earlier this month, will square off against Kazakhstan’s Aibek Oralbay.
Zareen, who hit the headlines recently for a bitter row over selection for next year’s Olympic qualifiers where six-time world champion M C Mary Kom has been preferred over her without a trial, will face Japan’s Sana Kawano on Wednesday.
Former Asian Games bronze-medallist Rani will be up against Brazil’s Beatriz Soares. Rani had won a silver medal at the Asina Championships earlier this year.
Opponents for the other Indian boxers will be known later after the quarterfinal bouts conclude on Tuesday evening.
The only disappointment for the country’s contingent was the quarterfinal exit of Anant Choapde, who went down 2-3 in a hard-fought contest against local hope Tosho Kashiwasaki.