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Mary Kom and Shiv Thapa get top billing in Asian Olympic Qualifiers

Olympic bronze-medallist M C Mary Kom (51kg) and World Championship bronze-winner Shiva Thapa (56kg) were given the top billing in the Asian Olympic Qualifying Tournament draw held here.

Mary Kom and Shiv Thapa-AV

Other Indians to be seeded were Commonwealth Games silver-medallist L Devendro Singh (4th in 49kg division) and Asian silver-medallist Vikas Krishan (2nd in 75kg category).

The continental qualifiers have 30 Olympic berths on offer for men and six for women. This means that the top three boxers in each category from the men’s competition and top two from the women’s draw will make the cut for Rio de Janeiro.

Three Indians will be in action on Saturday — two men and one woman. Former Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Manoj Kumar (64kg) and comeback-man Sumit Sangwan (81kg) will fight their opening bouts against Kazakhstan’s Zhussupov Ablaikhan and Korea’s Heeguan Yang respectively.

Among the women, Asian Games bronze-medallist Pooja Rani (75kg) will also begin her campaign tomorrow against Tajikistan’s Shoira Zulkaynarova. As for the rest of the draw, Shiva, after getting a first-round bye into the pre-quarterfinals, will face the winner of the contest between Korea’s Myeongkwan Lee and Tajikistan’s Oraz Avzalshoev.

Mary Kom, a five-time world champion, will take on Kazakhstan’s Nazym Kyzaibay in the first round. Another women’s veteran, former Asian champion L Sarita Devi (60kg) will square off against Japan’s Tomoko Kugimiya in her opening bout.

In the men’s competition, Devendro will be up against Malaysia’s Mohd Redzuan Muhamad Fuad Bin in his first bout, while Vikas has a tough contest at hand against local favourite Zhao Minggang.

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