Shiva becomes youngest Indian boxer to qualify for Olympics
Shiva Thapa. File photo | The Hindu

Shiva Thapa (56kg) on Wednesday became the youngest Indian boxer to make the cut for the Olympics by reaching the final, but the already—qualified Vijender Singh (75kg) bowed out after losing in the last—four stage of the Asian Qualifiers’ in Astana, Kazakhstan on Wednesday.

The 18—year—old Shiva defeated Japan’s Satoshi Simizu 31—17 to enter the final and book a London berth.

“It was a superb performance. He was down a point in the first round due to overt aggression, but did not panic and played from medium range in the next two rounds to win and win big,” national coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu told PTI from Astana.

“Most of his points came through right straight punches,” he added.

A 19—year—old L Devendro Singh had booked his London berth in the last year’s World Championships, tying with Debendra Singh (1996 Atlanta) as the youngest Indian boxer to make the Olympics. But the 1993—born Shiva has broken this record.

The Assam teenager, playing only his second senior international event (he won a gold in the maiden), was down 6—7 in the opening round.

But he turned the tables in the second round, taking a massive 15—6 lead. The final three minutes followed a similar script as Shiva clinched it with ease.

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