GUWAHATI, April 5 - Ace boxer Shiva Thapa is determined to face the tough time ahead at the camp before proceeding for the Rio Olympics and is all geared up to work from dawn to dusk.
The 22 year old pugilist earned a hard fought berth for the Olympics from the Asia and Oceania Zone Qualification held at Qian�an, China recently.
Speaking during his felicitation ceremony organised by the Assam Amateur Boxing Association (AABA) immediately after his arrival here today, he said after a few days of rest at his Rehabari residence here, he will join the Indian camp at Patiala. He stated that his days at the camp prior to the mega-event will include a rigorous training schedule.
The young boxer is ready to work as hard as possible in order to grab a medal at Rio. He also revealed his plans to train abroad for gaining good amount of exposure. Till now Shiva is the only Indian boxer to have qualified for the Rio Olympics.
Shiva became the second sportsperson from Assam to earn two consecutive Olympic berths after shuttler Dipankar Bhattacharyya.
�It was quite a tough contest as it was for the first time that Oceania was included along with Asia. I had to face tough opponents all throughout. After getting the better of my Korean counterpart in the first round 3-0, the second hurdle I faced was a Japanese pugilist who was very intelligent and technically sound. After the quarterfinal victory it was a must win situation for me,� Thapa said.
�I knew that a semifinal victory will earn me a ticket to Rio. Despite having clinched a bronze medal at the World Championships at Doha, I failed to qualify, so it was really crucial for me this time. The team officials studied the boxer from Kazakhstan and we planned a strategy accordingly,� he added.
The talented boxer is currently ranked World No. 6 while his highest ranking till date has been the World No. 2 spot.
�I was aggressive and at the same time remained cool. The opponent was a little bit taller than me, so I had to work really hard. Finally I emerged victorious and confirmed a Rio ticket,� said a jubilant Shiva.
Replying to a question from the media, Shiva said, the experience of having featured at the London Olympics and the World Championships last year where he won a bronze medal, will definitely help him in Rio. Asked what will be his strategy in Rio, he said, �The qualifying championships are still going on in some of the continents. I am not yet sure regarding who will be my opponents. So, it is not the right time to set a specific strategy.�
The AABA secretary, Hemanta Kumar Kalita said that within May 4 the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation has to be reconstituted which has been dissolved by the Indian Olympic Association for internal anomalies. The international boxing body (AIBA) may bar the Indian body from participating in the Olympics if it fails to set up a new committee.
Director of Sports and Youth Welfare, Anjan Sarma; SAI regional sub centre director, Subhash Basumatary; AABA official, Mahendra Singh were also present during the occasion.