A bronze medal in his kitty, Indian boxer Shiva Thapa could not add the Olympic quota place to it despite a valiant effort in a hard-fought box-off of the World Championships in Doha on Wednesday.
Shiva (56kg), who became only the third Indian ever to clinch a medal at the mega-event after Vijender Singh (2009) and Vikas Krishan (2011), went down to Belarus' Dzmitry Asanau despite a dominating performance.
"We were expecting this bout to go our way. Shiva fought very well and it is unfortunate that he lost this bout," national coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu said.
The 21-year-old from Assam, the only one from the six-member contingent to be left in reckoning for the Olympic berth, was on the offensive from the very first bell, daring his rival with an open guard.
Besides his very accurate left hook, the Indian also used his right jabs to good effect. However, despite combining his blows with lucid foot movement, which helped him dodge Asanau effectively, the Indian did not find favour with the judges.
The 19-year-old Asanau, a European Games silver-medallist, continued his defensive approach in the second round and did not come on the front foot even once. However, the approach found favour with judges yet again and he nosed ahead 2-0.
In the final three minutes, Shiva attacked with all his might and put Asanau under pressure with his aggressive approach.
However, Shiva’s aggression could not trump Asanau's defensive tactics and the judges unanimously awarded the bout to the Belarussian.
India thus ended their campaign with one bronze medal but failed to secure a single Olympic quota place.
Image: Devendro Singh with Indian national boxing coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu (right) and assistant coach Jaidev Bisht (left)
Photograph: IBF Media