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Tokyo Olympics: Debutant Boxer Pooja Rani Enters Quarterfinals


Tokyo Olympics: Pooja Rani made the quarterfinals in her maiden Olympic Games.© AFP

Indian boxer Pooja Rani (75kg) out-punched Algeria’s Ichrak Chaib in her opening bout to enter the quarterfinals of her maiden Olympic Games on Wednesday. The 30-year-old Indian clinched it 5-0, thoroughly dominating a rival 10 years her junior. The two-time Asian champion was in command with her right straights and also benefitted immensely from Chaib’s lack of balance in the ring. All three rounds were a story of Rani’s domination as Chaib, also appearing in her maiden Olympics, just could not figure a way to connect cleanly.

Rani played smart by keeping her distance. All Rani had to do throughout the bout was counter-attack as Chaib failed spectacularly in trying to hit powerfully, her wild swings mostly missing the target area.

Rani’s Olympic journey has been the one of many struggles. She battled a career-threatening shoulder injury, a burnt hand and lack of financial support before making it this far.

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Her police officer father did not want her to pursue the sport as he felt boxing was a sport meant for aggressive people.

Maar lag jaegi (you will get hurt). That’s what my father said. He insisted that the sport was not meant for me because in his mind, boxing was pursued by aggressive people,” she had recalled in an interview to PTI detailing her journey.

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