Olympian and 2012 Asian Olympic Qualifying tournament gold medallist Shiva Thapa (56kg) reasserted his stature as one of the rising stars of Indian boxing with another brilliant performance in the title round of the ASBC Asian Confederation Boxing Championship held recently at Amman, Jordan. The 19 year old won himself the gold medal in the bantam weight division of the continental championship.
Thapa. making his second international appearance since the 2012 London Olympics, beat Malbekov Omurbek from Kyrgyzstanto book his place in the finals of the championship. In the title bout Thapa not only had to contend with Obada Alkabeh, but also with the fierce home support for the local lad. He made a strong start, landing some cracking hooks and continued to be aggressive trying to put the Jordanian boxer on the back foot.
In the second round Alkabeh replied with some aggressive combinations of his own, but Shiva was relentless and gained the advantage with his precise counter attacks. In the end he went on to bag the gold medal with a hard fought victory on a split decision from the judges. The gold medal win at Amman is a career highlight for the boxer from Assam, who has shown tremendous skill and gusto upstaging some tough opponents in the tournament.
An elated Shiva, spoke after winning the continental title “This is a very rewarding win for me. I have been training very hard to make sure I perform to best of my ability and I am very happy to have won the Asian Champion title”.
National coach GS Sandhu was all praises for way Shiva fought. He said, “Shiva is a very perceptive boxer and has to ability to quickly adapt his game according to that of his opponent. He also possesses some great fire power which we saw in abundancein the final bout. I am very pleased to see him win the continental title, which will also be a great boost for his confidence and in his preparations for the World Championships”.
Shiva Thapa joined the elite club of Indian boxers credited with winning an Asian Championship gold medal after being crowned the Continental Champion. The Assamese boxer’s performance throughout the tournament was of a very high standard and he completely deserved winning the continental title.
Olympian L Devendro Singh (49kg) and Limassol Boxing Cup Champion Mandeep Jangra (69kg) returned from the tournament with a silver medal performance. Both the boxers gave a good fight to their respective opponents in the finals, but came up short in the end and had to be content with a second place on the podium.
While Mandeep lost to Asian Games gold medalist Daniyar Yeleussinov of Kazakhstan, Devendro went down against Temertas Zhussupov also of Kazakhstan. Commonwealth Games gold medalist Manoj Kumar (64kg) lost out to London Olympics bronze medalist Uranchimegiin Monkh-Erdene of Mongolia in the semi-finals of the light welter weight division and had to make do with a bronze medal.
The Indian boxers returned home from the tournament with a four medal haul (1 gold medal, 2 silver medals and 1 bronze medal) that saw them finish joint second along with Uzbekistan in the overall rankings of the Asian Championships.
The talent, the right attitude
According to Wikipedia, Shiva Thapa, born on 8 December 1993, hails from Guwahati, Assam. He belongs to the Indian Gorkha community. He trains at the Pune-based Army Sports Institute and is supported by Anglian Medal Hunt Company and Olympic Gold Quest, a not-for-profit foundation to identify and support Indian athletes. Shiva Thapa qualified for the 2012 London Olympics, and was the youngest Indian boxer to qualify for the Olympics,
Shiva Thapa was born as the youngest of six siblings to Padam Thapa, a karate instructor in Guwahati. His father and elder brother Gobind Thapa, an Assam state-level medal winning boxer, were sources of inspiration for the young Thapa; Mike Tyson’s bouts also inspired him to take the sport seriously. Padam noticed his son’s flair for boxing and made sure that his youngest son got all that he needed. Shiva rose as early as 3 a.m. in the mornings to balance his training and studies. His practice first started in the living room of their house at the age of seven. It was not easy for Padam to support for his son’s training, travel and special diet because of the large family. But he ensured that the monthly expenditure of Rs 30,000 (US$520) was taken care of somehow or the other. Things become simple for the Thapa family when Olympic Gold Quest, a not-for-profit foundation to identify and support Indian athletes, decided to support the young boxer as a part of their Vision 2016 initiative. While signing Thapa, Viren Rasquinha, the chief operating officer of Olympic Gold Quest said: “Shiva is an enormous talent. He must be groomed well because he has the talent, the right attitude and the hunger to succeed. OGQ has very high hopes from Shiva and I am confident that he will become one of India’s top boxing stars in the near future.” That confidence has been proved to be rightly placed by Shiva Thapa.