In times of trouble, Shiva Thapa the only hope in Rio

The 22-year-old pugilist is India's sole representative at the Olympics.

Mumbai: Shiva Thapa will be the sole pugilist from India who will compete at Rio Olympics – bantamweight category – starting August 5. The 22-year-old is optimistic about the formation of the Boxing Federation of India (BFI), after International Boxing Association (AIBA) extended the deadline (from May 14), so that he can turn out in India colours in Rio de Janeiro.

“As an athlete, my job is to train at the gym and focus on my performance. I don't think about the politics involved in the whole process. Since a deadline has been given to form a new federation as soon as possible, it will hold us good. But AIBA said that the boxers will not suffer, they will be able to participate but they can’t do that under the national flag which is a worry. I hope it is solved soon,” said Thapa, who won a bronze in the World Amateur Championship last year in Doha.

He started his training aiming at Rio but his luck earned him a berth in the London Olympics (2012) as well. He lost in the first round to Oscar Valdez Fierro (Mexico) but gained enough experience.

“When I was the youngest to qualify, people asked me how it felt being the youngest one. I am grateful it happened that early. The last four years helped me shape my present. The World Championship bronze motivated me further. I will be relaxed when I go to Rio,” added Thapa, who expected more boxers from India to join him at Rio.

What went wrong?

“There have been technical mistakes. But the team has been doing fine with the coaches and support staff. We still have the qualifiers left. This time, the qualifiers were tougher than the last time. AIBA introduced world provisional boxing which has more quotas but Indian boxers aren’t participating there. In amateur boxing, quota is very less,” he pointed.

However, Thapa – who comes from north east (Guwahati) – asserted he will miss MC Mary Kom in the Olympics.

“She has been an inspiration, Olympic medal, a mother of three. I hope there will be a way out when she gets to represent India soon,” said Thapa.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
Next Story