A new beginning for Thapa

19-year-old boxer is hopeful of a podium finish in the upcoming International tournament to be held in Khabarovsk.

Written by Nitin Sharma | Chandigarh | Published:May 14, 2013 12:46 am

19-year-old boxer is hopeful of a podium finish in the upcoming International tournament to be held in Khabarovsk.

It was almost a year ago when Shiva Thapa became the youngest Indian boxer to qualify for the London Olympics by claiming the gold medal in the Asian Qualifiers held at Astana,Kazakhstan.

A lot has happened since then. Thapa suffered a first round loss at the hands of Oscar Valdez Fierro of Mexico during London Olympics and the Assamese boxer also missed out on international tournaments due to the AIBA’s ban over Indian Boxing Federation. With the world body lifting the ban on the participation of Indian boxers in March early this year,the Indian team is all set to take part in the Konstantin Korotkov Memorial International tournament to be held in Khabarovsk,Russia from May 15. And Thapa is hopeful of a podium finish before the start a hectic schedule.

“A lot has happened since I qualified for London Olympics. I won the gold medal in the Asian qualifier at Astana. The first round loss at the Olympics disappointed me and it was only when I came back to India,that I realised how big that loss was. People were expecting things from me. It was unfortunate that I lost early. But that’s part of the sport. I spent some time at my home in Assam that helped me to forget about the loss. The AIBA ban meant that we missed most of the tournaments this year and the Russian tournament will provide me an opportunity to hit peak form once again,” shared the 19-year-old Bantam Weight boxer who first hit headlines when he claimed the bronze medal in the World Junior Boxing Championship in Yereven,Armenia in 2009. Early this year,AIBA also amended its rules stating that the use of headgear will not be allowed during men’s Elite tournaments apart from new scoring pattern. Instead of awarding points to each boxer,each round will be scored on the basis of the dominance of a boxer. The three judges randomly selected from five judges before the bout will award points in the range of 10-9 (close round),10-8 (Clear winner with dominance),10-7 (Total dominance),10-6 (Over matched) and the median of the scored given by the judges will be taken.

Thapa along with other Indian boxers has been training without the headgear at the camp in NIS and believes that participating in the Russia and Cuba before the Asian Championship,to be held in Jordan in June will help his game.

“Last time,I had to withdraw from Asian Championship after suffering an injury during a match. But this time,I am eager to improve upon my performance. We have been training without the head gear and it takes some time to adjust to the new format as well as rules. Yes,we did get some cuts and some of us even got stitches. But then the rules are for everybody. The game will be more about straight and powerful punches,” felt the Assamese.

Coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu,who is accompanying the team to Russia expects the youngster to grab the chances offered to them with both hands and believes that playing in such tournaments will prepare them well ahead of the Asian Championships and World Championships to be held in Astana in October later this year. “I am glad that the boys are going to take part in a tournament after a long time. The rules have changed and the other teams will also have young boxers. That’s why another team will leave for Cyprus later this week. After Russia,we will be going to Cuba before the Asian Championships,” shared Sandhu.

The team:

T Nanao Singh (49kg),Sunil Kumar (52kg),Shiva Thapa (56kg),Vikas Malik (64kg),V Santhosh Kumar (64kg),Dilbag Singh (69kg),Kuldeep Singh (75kg),Rahul (81kg),Jasveer Singh (91kg),Satish Kumar (+91kg).

The team:

T Nanao Singh (49kg),Sunil Kumar (52kg),Shiva Thapa (56kg),Vikas Malik (64kg),V Santhosh Kumar (64kg),Dilbag Singh (69kg),Kuldeep Singh (75kg),Rahul (81kg),Jasveer Singh (91kg),Satish Kumar (+91kg).

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