Of the seven boxers who have ensured their place in the Indian boxing team for London Olympics,four have their alma mater the Army Sports Institute (ASI) based in the city. With Shiva Thapa (56kg),Sumit Sangwan (81kg),L Devendro Singh (49kg) and Vikas Krishan (69kg) making it into the Indian contingent for the London Olympics,team ASI is visibly excited and already hopeful of Olympic medals a vision the institute has been nurturing for years under its Mission Olympic programme.
Talking to Newsline,Colonel R S Bishnoi,commandant,ASI,said,This is a dream come true. But more importantly,this is just the first step as now,we expect medals from these boys.
While Thapa and Sangwan bagged gold on Thursday in the Asian Olympic Qualifiers in Astana,Kazakhstan,Singh and Krishan had already ensured their Olympic entry in last years World Championship. The boys were inducted at the ASI in the institutes Boys Sports Company (BSC) between 2006 and 2008 and had been training at ASI till date.
Singh is a havaldar while the other three are sports cadets. Singhs first international gold medal came in 2009 in 45th Cuban International Olympic Games. While Sangwan has represented services at 43rd Youth National Boxing Championship at Vishakhapatnam and secured a gold for himself and services in this championship,Yadav is the 1st ASI boxer who secured a gold in 19 th Asian Games at Guanzhou,China. Thapa is preparing for his NDA exams. His elder brother Govind Thapa is also a good boxer and presently training at ASI. Thapa made his mark by winning an international gold medal in 2008 at Hyder Ali Cup Boxing Championship in Azerbaijan.
A proud Bishnoi credits the boys success to trainers Rajendra More,Subedar Major Manoharan,two Cuban coaches who have been training the boxers and other boys at the BSC. The ASI has been a nursery for elite boxers in the country who have proved their mettle through various competitions at junior and youth levels. When the four came here,they were raw,but thanks to our trainers and the facility at ASI,they are competing for Olympic medals today, said Bishnoi.
Theres more good news for ASI. Two of its other sportsmen have qualified for the London Olympics. Babubhai Panocha,an athlete from Sabarkantha district,Gujarat,has qualified in 20-km walk while Ram Singh has qualified for the marathon. We are hopeful that two more our sportsmen Tarundeep Rai,archer and Arjuna awardee weightlifter Ravi Kumar will also qualify, said Bishnoi.