Shiva Thapa one win away from London Olympics

Shiva Thapa one win away from London OlympicsAstana: Teenage sensation from India Shiva Thapa defeated Athens Olympics silver medallist Worapoj Petchkoon of Thailand to enter the semifinals of the 56 kg category at the Asian Olympic qualifying event here Monday. The talented boxer is now one step away from making the London Games.

The 18-year-old caused a major upset in the quarter-finals defeating Petchkoon 16:10.

Shiva, who beat Afghan boxer Mohammad Khaiber Nooristani in the pre-quarters, made a solid start against the Thai, taking a vital two point lead after the opening round (5:3). In the second, he opened the gap with some powerful hitting to make it a seven point game (12:5). Shiva held off an impressive comeback from Worapoj to win the bout.

With the victory, the 2010 Youth Olympic silver medallist has now assured himself of at least a bronze medal in the competition. But for him to secure an Olympic qualification, he would either have to make it to the final or wait for the its result.

Only three Olympic quota places are on offer in the 56 kg category. Two finalists and the semi-finalist, who loses to the eventual gold winner will qualify for the Olympics.

Chief national coach GS. Sandhu was extremely pleased with Shiva's performance.

"Shiva fought very well and it was a technically sound fight. He stuck to our strategy, which was, have a medium range contest and focus on body blows."

Shiva will now take on Satoshi Shimizu of Japan in the last four Wednesday.

Five other Indian pugilists will also take to the rings in the semifinals.

Beijing Olympics bronze medallist Vijender Singh (75kg), who qualified for the London Games Sunday, will now look to end with a flourish. The 26-year-old will take on Nursahat Pazziyev of Turkmenistan.

Sumit Sangwan will face off against the Ihab Almatdault from Jordan. Only three Olympic quota places are on offer in the 81 kg as well.

In 91 kg, Manpreet Singh will meet former Asian Champion Ali Mazaheri of Iran. Manpreet will also have to go all the way and scale the summit of the heavy weight division for the only Olympic qualification spot on offer.

Paramjeet Samota (+91kg) would have to claim the title to qualify for the mega event.

The 23-year-old, who got a bye in the quarterfinals, will lock horns with Soumar Ghossoun of Syria. (IANS)