Boxer fulfils brother's Olympic dream
Wednesday could just as easily have belonged to his elder brother. Financial constraints meant that his family could not afford to let both its sons pursue boxing. Eventually, the elder one was made to sacrifice the sport against his wishes and instead work with his father on a small tract of land.chandigarh Updated: Apr 12, 2012 12:06 IST
Wednesday could just as easily have belonged to his elder brother. Financial constraints meant that his family could not afford to let both its sons pursue boxing. Eventually, the elder one was made to sacrifice the sport against his wishes and instead work with his father on a small tract of land.
But now, Amit Sangwan is a happy chap. In just his first major tournament in the senior category, his 19-year-old brother, Sumit, has assured himself of a berth in the upcoming London Olympics. "Sumit has made us all proud. It feels as if I have qualified for the Olympics. He is bringing my dream of playing in the Games to life," said Amit, who hails from Shekhupura village in Haryana's Karnal district.
In his semifinal bout at the ongoing Asian qualification tournament in Astana, Kazakhstan, Sumit defeated Jordan's Ihab Almatbouli 20-13 to book his ticket to London (the 81kg is one of the weight categories with three quota places - two for the finalists and one for the semifinalist whom the eventual winner had defeated).
"After beating the South Korean in the quarters, I was confident of winning an Olympic berth," said Sumit. "With three months to go, I will work on improving my footwork and technique to increase my chances of winning a medal in London."
Sumit, who upset Beijing Olympian Dinesh Kumar to get a place in the national squad, is thankful to his brother and father for extending their support. "We belong to a very humble background," said Sumit, "but my family didn't let anything come in between my training, not even financial hurdles. At times, they even cut down on their own expenses."
Assam boxer Shiva Thapa, too, hails from a very humble background. Like Sumit, he has also made it - not just to the final of his weight category, but also to London.
With this, the number of boxers that will be representing India at this year's Olympics has risen to a record seven.
At 18, Shiva is the youngest Indian boxer to have made the Olympic cut. "Whatever I am today, it's all because of my father. Despite having six children to feed, he never let money be a problem during my training," Shiva told HT from Astana after defeating Japan's Satoshi Shimizu.
His father, Padam Thapa, left no stone unturned to see his son donning the national jersey. "I used to be a state-level karate player, but couldn't move ahead because of lack of vision," said Padam. "But I made both my sons join the Sports Authority of India's Guwahati centre under coach Amar Deka, which helped them reach where they are today." Shiva's elder brother had won the silver medal at the 33rd National Games in Guwahati.
Having entered the final as well as the Olympics, Shiva said: "My entire focus now will be on London. I want to win a medal for all the sacrifices that my father made just so that I could continue boxing."