New Delhi, Apr 20 : After their success at the Commonwealth games, athletes from northeast are all geared up to participate in the London Olympics 2012.
Pugilist Shiva Thapa, who hails from Assam's Guwahati region made the country proud after becoming the youngest Indian boxer to qualify for the London Olympics.
The 18-year-old boxer defeated Syria's Wessam Salamana 18-11 in the 56kg weight category, in the final qualifiers of the Asian Olympic qualifiers tournament in Kazakhstan to book himself a ticket for the London Olympics along with seven other boxers.
"The journey has been really tough for me. Boxing has not been an easy sport. But if you work hard, you will be successful. My family has always supported me and I have worked hard. I wanted to box in Olympics and London was my target. And I have achieved it. I will try to win medals there," said Thapa.
Shiva was recently felicitated at a function in New Delhi where he was awarded a cash prize of Rs two lakh.
The boxer gives credit to his parents and coaches for his success.
His parents are happy and wish him success in the Olympics.
"He needs to maintain his momentum. We want the entire country to pray for him so that he brings an Olympic medal," said Padma Thapa, Shiva Thapa's father.
"My brother did it. He is just 18 and has made it to Olympics. We are proud of him and wish that he wins there," said Kavita Thapa, Shiva Thapa's sister.
Along with Shiva Thapa, hopes are also pinned on the five-time world-boxing champion MC Mary Kom. Though she is yet to go through the qualifiers, people are hopeful she will make it to the Olympics.
"Mary Kom is a fantastic athlete. She is very eager to win. Even after giving birth to two children, she came back to boxing and won the world championship. She is very committed and highly motivated about winning," said G S Sandhu, coach, Indian Olympic Boxing Team.
Shiva Thapa and Mary Kom are not just sporting icons, but they also serve as a source of inspiration to upcoming sportspersons across the country.
Both these boxers come from a humble background.
They have practiced day and night to achieve their dreams.
"We get to learn so much from Mary Kom while they train. They are one of the best boxers and I want to be like them," said Shamin Bhanu, boxer, Manipur.
"I want to tell the youth to train hard so that they can become good boxers and represent Manipur," said Dhanchandra, boxer, Manipur.
Youth from the northeast are extremely talented sportspersons. Though Baichung Bhutia and Sunil Chetri are common names, but many like Renu bala Chanu, Somdev Debburman, Sandhya Rani too have made the country proud with their success. (ANI)