Amit Panghal Returns to Indian Boxing Squad for World Olympic Qualifiers

Amit Panghal

World Championships silver medallist Amit Panghal is set to return to the Indian boxing squad for the final Olympic qualifiers. The Boxing Federation of India (BFI) announced this decision as part of a major overhaul of the team, following a disappointing performance at the previous Olympic qualifying event.

The qualifiers are scheduled to be held in Bangkok from May 25 to June 2. This event is the last opportunity for boxers to secure their spots for the Paris 2024 Olympics. The Indian squad, which saw wholesale changes, is now pinning its hopes on Panghal and other seasoned boxers.

Olympic preparations begin for Amit Panghal

Panghal, who won gold at the 2022 Commonwealth Games and the 2024 Strandja Memorial tournament, will get his first and final chance to seal his passage to his second Olympic Games. He had lost out to Deepak Bhoria repeatedly in the assessment, hence missing out on the two qualifying events for the Paris Olympics.

The Indian boxers had a horrid run at the Olympic qualifiers in Italy last month when not even one boxer could secure a quota. This led to the resignation of India’s High Performance Director Bernard Dunne. In response to this setback, the BFI has made as many as six changes to the squad for the final Olympic qualifiers.

Other notable changes in the squad include the inclusion of Sachin Siwach Jr, who won the gold medal at the Strandja Memorial boxing tournament. He will replace two-time CWG medallist Mohammad Hussamuddin in the 57kg category. Veteran boxer Shiva Thapa, a six-time Asian Championships medallist, is a notable absentee from the squad.

In the women’s category, Ankushita Boro, who failed to win a quota in the 66kg weight class in Italy, has dropped to the 60kg category. She replaces Jaismine, whose performance has been disappointing at the international level. National champion Arundhati Choudhary has replaced Boro in the 66kg category.

The revamped squad is now gearing up for the crucial event. They will travel to Bangkok well in advance on May 10 to acclimatise and train ahead of the crucial event. So far, four Indian women – Nikhat Zareen (50kg), Preeti Pawar (54kg), Parveen Hooda (57kg) and Lovlina Borgohain (75kg) – have managed to secure quotas for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

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