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HindustanTimes Fri,22 Aug 2014

Athletics

The young and the restless
Saurabh Duggal, Hindustan Times
London, July 27, 2012
First Published: 00:50 IST(27/7/2012)
Last Updated: 01:43 IST(27/7/2012)

They are the shining ambassadors of young India. Seven athletes in the 81-member contingent are teenagers and they're loving the attention being showered on them.


Not only that, a few among Deepika Kumari (archery), Shiva Thapa (boxing), Sumit Sangwan (boxing), Amit Kumar (wrestling), SK Uthappa (hockey), Soumyajit Ghosh and Ankita Das (both table tennis) are considered strong medal prospects as well.

Deepika, who became eligible for a driving licence last month, is currently ranked No.1 in the world and is one of the best bets for an individual gold at the Olympics. Besides, she is the youngest woman archer in the fray here.

Shiva Thapa, the 18-year-old pugilist, made it to London in the 56kg category, which was earlier ruled by Beijing Games quarterfinalist Akhil Kumar. Thapa's teammate, Sumit Sangwan, is only 19 and will be vying for honours in the 81kg category.http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/7/27-07-12-pg-16fnew.jpg

"Age is just a number. No matter how young or old you are, what matters is how you perform in the sporting arena. Besides, my opponent is not going to ask my age," said Shiva, who hails from Assam.

Grappler Amit Kumar, competing in the 55kg category, is 18 and the youngest of the five-member wrestling squad.

"My target was the 2016 Olympics but now that I have qualified for London, I am very much motivated. I will give it my best shot to make the country proud," said Amit from his training base in Belarus, from where he'll reach London on August 5.

Uthappa, 18, is the youngest member of the hockey squad. "I have seniors to guide me," he said with an air of confidence.

Soumyajit and Ankita turned 19 on May 10 and July 17, respectively.


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