Shiva Thapa

Shimla, June 19 (IANS) Star Indian boxer Shiva Thapa has billed Himachal Pradesh’s inaugural State Olympics meet as the first step in India’s march to Olympic glory.

Organised by Indian Olympic Association (IOC) executive committee Vice President Anurag Thakur, the Himachal Pradesh State Olympics will be held from June 22 to 25 in Hamirpur.

The meet was flagged off with a torch run, symbolic of the Olympics, here on June 17. On Monday, the torch passed through Nurpur, with the run led by Indian women’s kabaddi team star Kavita Thakur.

In the coming days, the torch will be carried through Joginder Nagar, Kullu, Mandi, Bilaspur before the run concludes in Hamirpur on June 22. It has already passed through Solan, Paonta Sahib and Una.

“It is good to see a leader take an initiative in the interest of the youth at large,” Thapa, who carried the torch during the opening leg of the run here, told IANS.

“It is an example for others to follow, as this step will work towards promoting talent at the grassroot level. Being a sportsperson myself, I reckon that this would pave way for nurturing the next generation of Olympians,” he added.

Hockey, athletics, boxing, basketball, judo, kabaddi, volleyball, wrestling, kho-kho, weightlifting and shooting are the 11 disciplines that will be contested during the Games.

The tournament is expected to engage with about 50,000 sports enthusiasts from across the state.

Thapa had participated in the 2012 London Olympics, becoming the youngest Indian boxer to qualify for the Games. The Asian Games gold medallist is ranked third in the bantamweight category in the AIBA Men’s World Ranking.

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