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Shiva, Sumit bag gold at Asian Olympic qualifier

Last updated on: April 12, 2012 19:09 IST

Teen boxers Shiva Thapa and Sumit Sangwan struck gold on Thursday, rounding off a brilliant performance by India at the Asian Olympic Qualifiers in Astana, Kazakhstan.

The country bagged three berths to the London Games from the tournament to make it an unprecedented seven-strong contingent for the quadrennial extravaganza.

The 18-year-old Shiva (56kg), who is the youngest Indian boxer to qualify for the Olympics, defeated Syria's Wessam Salamana 18-11 to clinch his second successive senior international gold medal.

Shiva Thapa celebrates after being declared winnerThe 19-year-old Sumit (81kg) beat Tajikistan's Dzhakon Qurbanov 14-9 to bag his maiden senior international gold in his debut event.

Besides these two, Vijender Singh (75kg) also booked a London berth by making the semi-finals of the last qualifier for the July-August mega-event.

Four Indian boxers -- L Devendro Singh (49kg), Jai Bhagwan (60kg), Manoj Kumar (64kg) and Vikas Krishan (69kg) -- had already booked Olympic berths from last year's World Championships.

Assam lad Thapa displayed fantastic reflexes and came up with precise jabs to establish a narrow 5-4 lead in the opening round.

Although his opponent matched him in aggression, the Indian was more accurate with his punches and won the second round 5-3, to make it 10-7. More

Shiva capitalised on his opponent's draining energy levels in the final three minutes to win comprehensively in the end.

"Shiva put up a fantastic performance. He is a very promising talent," said national coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu.

Sumit adopted a wait-and-attack approach in his bout, sizing up his rival in the opening three minutes before taking a slender a 2-1 lead.

It remained just a point's lead after the second round as well after Qurbanov clawed his way back to tie it 5-5.

Sumit made an aggressive start to the final round, connecting some telling jabs and left hooks to unsettle his opponent and clinch the bout comfortably.

"Youngsters winning gold medals in just first and second senior international event is a good sign for Indian boxing. It shows that Indian boxing's future is in safe hands," said Sandhu.

Two other Indian boxers -- Manpreet Singh (91kg) and Paramjeet Samota (+91kg) -- missed out on London berths but settled for bronze medals in the event.

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