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Shiva aims for World C'ships

Shiva aims for World C'ships

Thapa returned to the country from Amman, Jordan in the wee hours on Wednesday and was all spunk and energy despite being jet-lagged.

New Delhi: He is smiling ear to ear after becoming the youngest Indian boxer to strike gold at the Asian Boxing Championships, but teen sensation Shiva Thapa hardly has any time to rest on the laurels as he has already set his sights on the World Championships to be held in October.

Besides Shiva's (56kg) gold, L Devendro Singh (49kg) and Mandeep Jangra (69kg) fetched silver medals while Manoj Kumar (64kg) settled for a bronze as the team finished joint second in the overall standings.

The team returned to the country from Amman, Jordan in the wee hours on Wednesday and was all spunk and energy despite being jet-lagged.

"Where is the time to celebrate and all, I will just take a short trip to home for 3-4 days and head straight back to Patiala (national camp) to prepare for the World Championships," said the Assam-lad.

"Celebrations can happen later, now is the time to just focus and train as hard as we can because a World Championships medal is something else altogether," added the 19-year-old, who is being managed by Anglian Medal Hunt.

The World Championships are scheduled from October 11 to 27 in Alamty, Kazakhstan and the trials for picking the Indian team for it would be conducted next month in Patiala.

National coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu was also praise not just for those who won medals but also for others in the team.

"None of my boys disappointed me. It's a performance that I as a coach is very proud of and extremely satisfied as well," said the long-serving coach.

Shiva said the Asian Championships provided valuable exposure to the new scoring system, under which there are no live updates anymore.

"At this event, we realised that it is all about making the first impression because if the judges get a feeling that the boxer is not attacking enough, it is extremely difficult to make a comeback," he said.

"If you lose the first round even by a point, it is very tough to win the next two. So, it is important that you attack in every round," added his Manipuri roommate Devendro.

Asked what sets them apart from the previous generation of Indian boxers, the duo exchanged smiles and said may be it is the carefree attitude.

"We train hard but we don't think too much about opponents, about reputations. We are not intimidated, we just focus on ourselves and not worry about what the other guy might be upto," said Shiva, who became the youngest Indian to qualify for the Olympics last year.

"We ended up being on such a big stage (like the Olympics) so early in our careers that a lot of inhibitions just vanished on their own," he added.

The World Championships in October would also mark the end of the headguard, the most important protective gear that the boxers used.

Asked whether it would affect performance, Shiva said, "The risk of injury would be higher no doubt but we have already started practising without headguards, we are testing ourselves and the results have not been too bad so far."

"With headguards or without headguards, we have to fight it out in the ring with our punches," added Devendro, who gained prominence after making the Olympic quarterfinals last year.

first published:July 10, 2013, 12:44 IST