Shiva Thapa qualifies for Rio, Mary Kom misses out

Thapa on Thursday became the first Indian to box his spot in the Rio Olympics, by entering the final of the ongoing Asian Qualifying Tournament. M. C. Mary Kom stumbled at the semifinal stage, thereby missing out on the ticket to the upcoming Olympics.

Shiva Thapa in action in the South Asian Games.   -  M. Moorthy

World championship bronze medal winning bantamweight boxer Shiva Thapa on Friday defeated Kairat Yeraliyev of Kazakhstan in the semifinals to reach the Asian/Oceanian qualifying event final in Quian'an, China, and become the first Indian boxer to book a spot in the Rio Olympics.

Thapa had bagged a bronze medal in the World championship in Doha but lost in the box-off for an Olympic quota place in October last year.

At Quian'an, top seed Thapa, who got a bye in the first round, beat Myeongkwan Lee of Korea and Arashi Morisaka of Japan before getting the better of Kazak boxer Yeraliyev, a 2013 Worlds bronze medallist, to make it to the 56kg title clash.

Twenty-two-year-old Thapa, a former Asian champion, put in some hard work to ensure his second Olympics appearance. “It was a long journey until I qualified this time. God's blessings and team's hard work took me to this spot and I am really happy to book my ticket to Rio,” Thapa told Sportstar from Quian'an.

“I believe in hard work and I feel very motivated with a strong and supportive team that we have. The toughest part is when we bleed and sweat during our training and the sweetest part is when the hand is raised as a winner,” said Thapa, who will meet Thai boxer Chatchai Butdee in the final.

L. Devendro Singh (49kg), who lost to Rogen Ladon of Philippines in the semifinals, will fight against Gan-Erdene Gankhuyag of Mongolia in search of an Olympic quota place. Three boxers in each weight will qualify for the Olympics.

Mary Kom loses semifinal bout

Meanwhile, London Olympics bronze medallist M.C. Mary Kom (51kg) lost to old foe Ren Cancan of China in the semifinals to miss out on an Olympic berth. In women's section, only the finalists will make it to the Rio Games.

Multiple Asian champion L. Sarita Devi (60kg) lost in the second round. Nevertheless, they will have another chance to make it to Rio through the qualifying event later this year.

PTI adds:

National coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu was effusive in his praise for Shiva, while also lauding the effort of other boxers.

“It was a very sensible, very planned, and very aggressive performance. His opponent was actually running around to save himself. It was a class performance and one of the best bouts of the day,” Sandhu said.

“Shiva has matured tremendously and this was evident in his performance so far,” he added.

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