Vikas Krishan, Manoj Kumar Book Olympic Berths

23/06/2016 9:17 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:27 AM IST
Japan's Masatsugu Kawachi (R) competes against India's Kumar Manoj (L) in the men's bosing light welter 64 kg preliminaries session 4 during the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon on September 25, 2014. AFP PHOTO / PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL (Photo credit should read PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)

Asian Games champion Vikas Krishan (75kg) and Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Manoj Kumar (64kg) on Thursday booked Olympic berths after advancing to the semifinals of the International Boxing Association's (AIBA) World Qualifying Tournament here.

While Manoj thrashed Tajikistan's Rakhimov Shavkatdzhon, second seed Vikas got past Korea's Lee Dongyun in the quarterfinals by a similar margin of 3-0.

Manoj will next face European champion Pat McCormack of Britain in the semifinal tomorrow. McCormack defeated Frenchman Amzile Hassan in his quarterfinal bout.

Vikas, on the other hand, will be up against Turkmenistan's Achilov Arslanbek, who got past Italian Cavallaro Salvatore in his quarterfinal contest.

Vikas and Manoj took the total number of Indian boxers assured of Olympic berths to three as Shiva Thapa (56kg) had made the cut for Rio during the Asian Qualifiers in March.

"Given the terrible state in which boxing is right now, I am relieved to have qualified for the Games. There was a lot of pressure on the team which is competing here and I am glad that I came good," Manoj told PTI.

"I am immensely thankful to the coaches, the Sports Ministry, the national coaching staff, the Sports Authority of India and my personal coach Rajesh, who is also my elder brother. Their efforts have helped me pull it off," he added.

National coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu described the duo's performance today as dominating.

"Manoj dominated all three rounds and boxed intelligently to win and qualify for the Games," Sandhu said.

"Vikas was similarly commanding in his performance and sailed past his opponent," he added.

Vikas, however, is a doubtful starter at tomorrow's semifinal as he has sustained a cut on his face.

Both Vikas and Manoj had competed in the 2012 London Games as well. While Manoj had lost in the quarterfinals, Vikas was ousted in the preliminaries.

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