Shiva Thapa looks like any other 17-year-old. But it’s his well-chiselled biceps, which suggest that this youngster can throw a few mean punches as a boxer, a sport he believes he was born to play. “I always wanted to be a boxer, nothing else,” said Shiva.
The Assamese boy, who won a silver in bantam weight at the recently concluded Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, was second time unlucky losing to the same opponent he lost to in the Youth World Championship in Azerbaijan.
But Shiva is unfazed and said that he lost to a better opponent, Cuban world champion Ramirez Robeisy Aloy.
“I should have won the gold, but it’s a sport and someone wins and someone loses,” Shiva told DNA from New Delhi.
Shiva was always fascinated by Mike Tyson. “I loved football and I did play well too, but I realised it is a team game and you need to have a good all-round team to succeed whereas to achieve good results in boxing, one had to rely on their own capabilities,” explained Shiva on why he chose boxing.
Shiva’s inspiration and support came in the form of his elder brother Gobind and father Padam. Gobind was a state-level medal winning boxer while Padam used to be a karate coach in Guwahati.
“My brother’s and father’s fascination has made me what I am,” said Shiva.
It was Padam, Shiva’s first coach, who tapped his son’s flair for exchanging punches and made sure that his youngest one got all that he needed.
Shiva dedicated his achievements to the groundwork his father had done all these years. “He made sure I got up by 3:30am so that I get ample time for training and studies,” remembered Shiva.
He first started practicing in the drawing room of his house at the age of seven with his father and now at 17, is training at Army Sports Institute at Pune.
But is hasn’t been an easy way up to the ring for Shiva. He is the youngest among six siblings, which includes four sisters. “It wasn’t easy for my father to support my passion. My travelling, training, stay and the biggest cost — my diet — didn’t make matters any easy at home,” said Shiva.
But Padam made sure his youngest son never had to bear the brunt. The monthly costs of approximately Rs30,000 was difficult, but Shiva’s talent finally got him support from the Olympic Gold Quest.
And now Shiva is excited after his experience at the Youth Games. “YOG gave a platform to the next world champions of all sports,” he said. His immediate aim is to qualify for the 2012 Games in London and if he doesn’t, Shiva is clear he wants to win a medal in the 2016 Games.