Boxers Shiva, Sangwan strike gold at Olympic qualifier
Astana (Kazakhstan), April 12 (IANS) Teenage boxers Shiva Thapa (56kg) and Sumit Sangwan (81kg) won gold in their respective categories at the Asian Olympic qualifying event here Thursday, a day after they made the cut for the London Games.
Shiva, 18, defeated 2010 Asian Games bronze medallist Wessam Salamana of Syria while Sumit overpowered another bronze medal winner of the Guangzhou Games, Jakhon Qurbanov of Tajikistan.
Shiva, who beat Athens Olympics silver medallist Worapoj Petchkoon of Thailand earlier in the competition, was brimming with confidence with his Olympic spot secured.
He started slow against the fast paced Syria boxer, but came back with his counter attacks, taking a slender one point lead after the opening round (5:4).
The 2010 Youth Olympic silver medallist displayed some great hand eye coordination and timing - his left hand jab proving to be the potent weapon.
Shiva had a three point advantage (10:7) going into the final round, which prompted Salamana to go all out. But the Indian was up to the challenge -- he was firm with his defence and accurate with his counter attacks. He went on to take the title with a total score of 18:11.
Sangwan, 19, who was up against a very experienced boxer played out a brilliant bout with a good combination of offence and defence.
It was a methodical start by the Indian, trying to find his range. There was not much separating the two boxers with only a point difference between them after the opening three minutes (2:1).
Sumit, who had the lead, did not let Qurbanov get inside and play his natural game. Both threw in some good punches and combinations and yielded five points each in the second round. In the final round though, Sangwan took the game away from Qurbanov. He frustrated the Tajik with his solid defence and counter attacked on almost every occasion, wearing his opponent down. He finally won the gold with a 14:9 victory.
Coach G.S. Sandhu was pleased with the performance of his young wards.
"Shiva and Sumit have shown great maturity for their age; the way they read their opponents and adapt is extra ordinary. Both the lads are very good with their timing and counter attacks. They are great future prospects for India," said Sandhu.
Earlier in the tournament, Beijing Olympics bronze medallist Vijender Singh (75kg), booked his ticket to the London Games after making the semifinals.
The last Asian Games silver medallist Manpreet Singh (91kg) and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Paramjeet Samota (+91kg) also had to be content with a bronze medal after losing out in the semi-finals.
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