New Delhi: Just being in the final was enough to fetch him an Olympic berth at the Asian Qualifiers but teen Indian boxer Shiva Thapa (56kg) said his target was never just the London ticket as he was desperate to hear the national anthem during the medal ceremony, played only for the gold-medallists.
The 18-year-old from Assam became the youngest Indian boxer to book a berth for the Olympics during the Asian Qualifiers in Astana, Kazakhstan.
Back in the country today with not just the berth but also the gold medal in his category, Shiva said he wanted to feel the exhilaration of standing on the top podium while flags are raised in slow motion and the gold-medallist's national anthem is played in the background.
"The semi-final was like a final for me because an Olympic berth was at stake. The final was even more important because I wanted the Indian national anthem to be played in the background during the medal ceremony," the former Youth Olympics silver-medallist said.
"It was a very proud moment for me," added the sprightly teen at a felicitation function organised by Indian boxing sponsors Monnet Group.
India will have an unprecedented seven-member presence at the London Olympics after Shiva, L Devendro Singh (49kg), Jai Bhagwan (60kg), Manoj Kumar (64kg), Vikas Krishan (69kg), Vijender Singh (75kg) and Sumit Sangwan (81kg) booked their berths for the mega-event.
Of these, Shiva, Sumit and Vijender claimed their London tickets during the Asian Qualifiers.