Confident boxers head for Youth Olympics
New Delhi: Familiar foes whom they thrashed just three months ago during the World Championship await Shiva Thapa (54kg) and Vikas Krishan (60kg) when they land in Singapore tomorrow to lead India`s boxing challenge at the inaugural Youth Olympics starting August 14.
The 18-year-old Vikas, a reigning youth world champion, heads to Singapore with the added confidence of becoming a senior national champion and being selected for the core group of boxers for the October Commonwealth Games.
The 17-year-old Shiva, on the other hand, was a silver medallist at the Youth World Championships after a hand injury cost him the finals against Cuba`s Robeisy Eloy Ramirez Carrazana.
The two were the only Indian boxers to make the cut for the Youth Olympics, the pre-requisite for which was a medal at the World Championships.
The duo would land in Singapore a good 10 days before the boxing competition starts and are elated to get the preparation time.
"It`s good to land there early because we can acclimatize ourselves to the weather and also get enough time to train and be pumped up for the bouts," Shiva told reporters.
Apart from Carrazana, Shiva`s draw comprises Zack Davies (Britain), David Michelus (Poland), Alexandru Marin (Romania) and Stan Nicette (Seychelles).
"To be in the country where we are supposed to compete so early is obviously a good thing because it gives us the time to settle down," added Haryana-boxer Vikas.
Vikas` draw features Hryar Matevosyan (Armenia), Brett Mather (Australia), Thomas Vahrenholt (Germany), Evaldas Petraukas (Lithuania) and Daniel Echeverria (Mexico).
The competition format for the Youth Olympics differs from other International Boxing Association events.
It guarantees a minimum of two bouts for each participating boxer and unlike other AIBA events, only one bronze will be awarded, since all the medals will be boxed out.
A total of 66 boxers qualified for the Games at the World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Shiva and Vikas have been training for a month at the Army Sports Institute in Pune.
"It`s a competition for the best at the youth level but since we have beaten them at the World Championships, I think we should come back with medals from the Youth Olympics as well," said Shiva.
Coach G Manoharan was also confident of a good show from the boys.
"They just have to remain injury-free because it is just a question of winning three bouts. They cleared six bouts in the World Championships, the format at the Youth Olympics is no big deal for them. They are tough boys," he said.