Baku (Azerbaijan): Asian Games champion Vikas Krishan (75kg) and Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Manoj Kumar (64kg) today 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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