Junior boxer Thapa bags gold on international debut

May 13th, 2008 - 12:25 am ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 12 (IANS) Promising junior boxer Shiv Thapa won a gold medal on his international debut in the sixth Hyder Aliyev International Junior boxing championship in Azerbaijan. L. Devendro Singh won the other medal for India, winning bronze in the 48kg category.

Thapa, who made his international debut in the 50 kg category, defeated local boy Gurbanzade Sarkhan in the final, outscoring his rival in the second round of the bout.

The 16-year-old Guwahati youngster’s appetite for success was evident when he said that he did not feel any pressure in his maiden international tournament and has set his eyes on the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India.

“I am feeling very good to win the gold in my first international competition. I gave my full effort as I was pretty confident about my chances,” young Thapa, who idolises legendary boxer Mike Tyson told reporters here Monday.

India had fielded a five-member team, accompanied by two coaches, for the prestigious junior tournament in which 14 teams and 128 boxers from various countries participated.

Apart from Thapa and Singh, other members of the team were Vikas Khatri (52 kg), 2007 World Junior Cadet Champion Vikas Yadav (57 kg), and Anil Kumar (60 kg).

Lauding Thapa’s achievement, Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) secretary P.K. Muralidharan Raja said: “Indian boxing has made a drastic change after Athens Olympics. Earlier, Asian powerhouses like China, Philippines and Thailand used to treat us as their punching bags but now they consider us a fearsome force.”

He is hopeful that one or two boxers from the five-member team will make the cut for the Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune to be held in October this year.

“Till date, we have won just one bronze in the Commonwealth Youth Games, but this time I am hopeful of a gold medal,” said Raja.

The IABF-secretary also informed that as part of its youth development policy, the federation would organise a three-day youth trial championship in Thane from June 20 to shortlist boxers for the International Junior Boxing competition as well as the Pune Games.

“In all, 48 boxers would be short-listed from the youth trial championship from which the teams for International Junior Competition, to be held in Cuba from June 29 to July 13, and the Commonwealth Youth Games would be selected,” Raja said.

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