Six Indian boxers, including two-time medallist Vikas Krishan and Sarjubala Devi, got byes into the pre-quarterfinals, while one got a direct entry into the last-eight stage after draws for the Asian Games were unveiled at Jakarta on Thursday.
World and Asian silver-medallist Sonia Lather (57kg) made the quarters without a fight to be just one win away from fetching a medal at the Games, where five-time world champion Mary Kom picked up the lone boxing gold in the last edition.
In the men’s draw, five out of seven in fray, got first-round byes. Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Gaurav Solanki (52kg) and Manoj Kumar (69kg), who won a bronze in the CWG, are the only ones, who will fight in the round of 32 on Friday.
While Gaurav will open against Japan’s Ryomei Tanaka, Manoj will be up against Bhutan’s Sangay Wangdi in his opening clash. CWG silver-medallist Amit Panghal (49kg), bronze-winner Mohammed Hussamuddin (56kg) and Dheeraj Rangi (64kg) and Vikas (75kg) will open their respective campaigns on August 27.
Vikas is the only one among the four with a decided opponent, Pakistan’s Ahmed Tanveer. Three-time Asian medallist Shiva Thapa (60kg) also got a bye but will be starting a day earlier than the other four against China’s Jun Shan. If he wins, 18-year-old Kazakh Samatali Toltayev, a junior world and Asian medallist, awaits him in the quarters.
Among the women, Sarjubala Devi (51kg) will start on August 26 against Madina Ghaforova of Tajikistan in the pre-quarters. Pavitra (60kg) will take on Pakistan’s Rukhsana Parveen in the round of 16 on August 25. The Asian Games features seven men’s and three women’s weight categories. India had won a gold and four bronze medals in the 2014 edition.
The country’s male boxers’ last gold medals came in the 2010 edition when Vijender Singh (75kg) and Vikas, competing in 60kg at that time, finished on top.
(With PTI inputs)