Wunderkind Shiva Thapa (56kg) continued to ride his purple patch and inch closer to the Olympic qualification with another astounding win at the AIBA Asian Olympic Qualifying Event in Astana, Kazakhstan. The 18 year old teen sensation caused a major upset in the quarter-finals of the bantam weight division, defeating Athens Olympic silver medallist and 2010 Asian Games winner Worapoj Petchkoon of Thailand.
Thapa, who beat Afghan boxer Mohammad Khaiber Nooristani in the round of 16, made a solid start in the quarters as well, taking a vital two point lead after the opening round (5:3). In the second, he opened the gap with some powerful hitting to make it a seven point game (12:5). The final round of play and Shiva held of an impressive comeback from Worapoj to win the bout on points 16:10. It was a monumental victory for the 2010 Youth Olympic silver medallist, considering the past record of his Thai opponent. With this win Shiva is has now made a place in the semi-finals and assured himself of at least a bronze medal finish. But for him to secure an Olympic qualification he would either have to make it to the finals or wait for the finals result. As only three Olympic quota places on offer in the 56 kilogram weight ? Two finalists and the semi-finalist who loses to the eventual gold medal winner will qualify for the London Games.
Chief National Coach GS Sandhu was extremely pleased with Shiva?s performance and expressed, ?Shiva fought very well and it was technically sound fight. He stuck to our strategy, which was have a medium range contest and to focus on body blows, which paid off in the end?.
Shiva Thapa (56kg) at the Asian Olympic Qualifiers
Shiva will now take on Olympian and 2009 Asian Championship bronze medallist Satoshi Shimizu of Japan in the round of four on Wednesday (11th Apr 2012).The semi-final of the tournament will begin Wednesday (11th Apr 2012), after a day of rest for the boxers. Five Indian pugilists will take to the rings in the round of four.
Beijing Olympics bronze medallist Vijender Singh (75kg), who has already booked his ticket to the London Games, will now look to end with a flourish. After having gotten rid of the 2011 Asian Championship silver medallist in the quarters, the 26 year old will now take on the bronze medal winner of the same tournament Nursahat Pazziyev of Turkmenistan for a place in the finals.
In the light heavy weight category, 2010 Youth Asian Championship silver medallist Sumit Sangwan (81kg) will face off against 2009 Asian Championship bronze medallist Ihab Almatdault from Jordan. Like in 56 kilogram, only three Olympic quota places are on offer in the 81 kilogram weight as well. For the two teenagers in the Indian boxing unit, Sumit and Shiva, the best way to ensure an Olympic berth would be to make it to the finals of the tournament and leave nothing to chance, as the third spot will have a bit of fortune riding on it.
In the semi-finals of the heavy weight division 2010 Asian Games silver medallist Manpreet Singh (91kg) will take on Asian Games bronze medallist and former Asian Champion Ali Mazaheri of Iran. Manpreet will have to go all the way and scale the summit of the heavy weight division in order to grab the only qualification spot on offer.
Commonwealth Games Gold medallist Paramjeet Samota (+91kg) would also have to claim the title in his weight in order to qualify for the London Olympiad, as the super heavy weight class has only one quota place. The 23 year old, who got a bye in the quarter-finals, will lock horns with 2007 Asian Championship silver medallist Soumar Ghossoun of Syria.