“In the London Olympics there were so many boxers and Vijender Singh gave Indian boxing a face (to be proud of). I am hopeful that more boxers will qualify for the Rio Games as some qualifiers are left (to make the grade)," said the 22-year-old boxer yesterday after being felicitated by the NGO Olympic Gold Quest along with eight other Rio-bound sports persons.

The 22-year-old pugilist is the lone Indian to have booked a berth for Rio in boxing and it will be the second Olympics for the 56-kg fighter after he became the youngest Indian boxer to qualify for the Olympics in London in 2012.

"This is my second Olympics. I am totally focused and working really hard. The last four years have just flown and I have learnt a lot. I am looking forward to the Rio Games and I am pretty sure that we (Indian contingent) will bring more medals than in the last Olympics," said the Guwahati-born boxer.
Thapa is sad as he had to fight in the Asian qualifiers, where he won a silver, under world body AIBA's flag due to the absence of an elected national boxing federation currently.
"It felt sad that we were not fighting under our country's flag. It's very important to represent the country and fight under its flag. Now AIBA has allowed us to fight  under the Indian flag in Rio and I am feeling better," said Thapa, who aims to follow Vijender's footsteps at some time in the future and turn professional.

Meanwhile, pistol shooting hope and Incheon Asian Games champion Jitu Rai sounded quietly confident that he will do well in Rio, though his performance in 2015 and this year has been up and down after a great 2014 when he won both the Commonwealth Games (Glasgow) and Asian Games gold medal.

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