India’s Lovlina Borgohain stormed into the semifinals of the women’s 75kg boxing event at the Asian Games 2023 here on Saturday.
With this, she confirmed a medal for India at the continental meet.
Lovlina, an Olympic medallist and reigning world champion, beat the Republic of Korea’s Su Yeon Seong, a 2022 Asian championships bronze medallist, by unanimous decision in the quarterfinals after being handed a bye in the round of 16.
The Indian boxer dominated the early exchanges and landed some strong right-handed jabs to take the first round. Lovlina maintained the momentum in the second round as well and evaded the Korean boxer’s surge expertly in the final round to make it to the semi-finals.
In women’s 54kg, Preeti Pawar made it to the semifinals by beating Zhaina Shekerbekova of Kazakhstan 4-1 by split decision. The 19-year-old Indian boxer, by virtue of making the top four, secured a maiden Asian Games medal as well as a quota for the Paris 2024 Olympics next year.
However, as National Olympic Committees have the exclusive authority for the representation of their respective countries at the Olympic Games, athletes' participation at the Paris Games depends on their NOC selecting them to represent their delegation at Paris 2024.
Boxing at the Asian Games 2023 is also a Paris 2024 Olympics qualifier event. In men’s events, the gold and silver medallists in each of the seven weight divisions will be issued a quota to Paris 2024. In the women’s categories, four quotas will be on offer for all categories other than the 66kg and 75kg, for which there will be two berths on offer like men’s.
Since Lovlina competes in the 75kg, she still needs to win another bout to obtain a Paris 2024 quota.
Preeti had a tough outing against her Kazakhstan opponent, who is a three-time world championships medallist. The Indian boxer nicked the opening round by the barest of margins but Zhaina Shekerbekova fought back in the second round, Olympics.com reported.
With both boxers going at it in the third round, Preeti landed some decisive punches to drive home the victory.
India’s Sachin Siwach will be in action in the men's 57kg round of 16 later in the day while Narender will be fighting in the quarterfinals of the +92kg.
(With UNI inputs)