Shiva Thapa, the Assamese star boxer became the first Indian to secure three consecutive medals at the Asian Championships yesterday. He had to settle for a silver medal this year after his bronze in the 2015 edition. His injury compelled him to concede a win in the final bout. Sumit Sangwan also won silver after he was defeated in the finals by the top-seeded Kazakh Vassiliy Levit.
Thapa (60 kg) went down against the second seed Elnur Abduraimov from Uzbekistan. He suffered from a cut in the opening round from a head butt from his rival forcing a referee stoppage. Thapa has been formerly a World champion in the bantamweight weight category (56 kg) but shifted to lightweight a few months back. He became the National champion in this category as well.
“I am happy to have achieved the twin targets of a medal as well as qualification for the World Championships. This is my first international medal in lightweight and I always had the self-belief that I could achieve it,” said Shiva. “It was a big decision and I am glad I have managed to prove myself. I was very clear that I wanted to compete in lightweight and even though it didn’t go quite well in a couple of tournaments, I knew I could do it,”
Shiva had defeated the top-seeded Olympic bronze medallist Mongolia’s Otgondalai Dorjnyambuu in the semifinals to make an entry into the last round of the Championships. His opponent had defeated China’s Jun Shan in the semis. Sumit Sangwan triumphed over second seed Tajik Jakhon Qurbonov to reach the finals.
India had earlier secured a bronze medal when the top-seeded Indian Vikas Krishan (75 kg) gave a walkthrough to his semis opponent Korea’s Lee Dong-Jin. “Vikas Krishan was not there in the weigh-in today morning, therefore his South Korean opponent walked over to the final,” an Asian Boxing Confederation official told PTI. India received another bronze medal in the light flyweight category when Amit Panghal was defeated in his semifinal bout.
Four of Indian boxers have qualified for the World Championships after their quarter-final victories. However, Gaurav Bidhuri (56kg) and Manish Panwar (81kg) lost their box-off bouts for World Championship slots. Gaurav was defeated by Japan’s Ryomei Tanaka, Manish went down to Pakistan’s Awais Ali Khan. Both the boxers were defeated in a split verdict.
India’s last gold in the Asian Championships had come in 2013 when Thapa won in the bantamweight category defeating Obada Al-Kasbeh of Jordan. India has received 4 medals in the 2013, 15 and 17 Championships each and stood 2nd, 6th and 3rd in the competitions respectively.