Shiva Thapa became the first Indian boxer to qualify for the Rio Olympics when he entered the final of the men’s bantamweight (56kg) category at the Asia/Oceania qualifying tournament here on Thursday.
Shiva, the top seed in his weight division, defeated 2013 World Championship bronze medallist Kairat Yeraliyev of Kazakhstan in the semi-finals. The Assam lad will face second seed Chatchai Butdee of Thailand in the final on Friday.
This will be Shiva’s second appearance at the Olympics. The World Championships bronze medallist became the youngest boxer to compete at the Olympics at the London Games in 2012.
But the jubilation in the Indian camp was tempered by the fact that five-time World Champion M.C. Mary Kom was unable to clinch an Olympic spot. Mary, the top seed in the women’s flyweight (51 kg) category, went down to Ren Cancan of China in the semi-finals.
The London Olympics bronze medallist will have another shot at Olympic qualification during the World Championships in May.
Laishram Devendro Singh also crashed out of the contention for an Olympic berth after going down to top seed Rogen Ladon of Mongolia in the semi-finals of the men’s light flyweight (49kg) category.