Vikas and Shiva, who won the gold and silver medals respectively in the World Youth Boxing Championship in Baku, are all set to take the boxing world by storm.
Winning a world championship title, even if it is a junior one, during one's teenage years is a rare experience – something not easy for one to come to terms with.
A chat with 60kg youth world boxing champion Vikas Krishan shows how humble upbringing can keep one grounded.
The 18-year-old knows that his recent gold medal at Baku (Azerbaijan) is one of the biggest he has garnered so far. And this may also be a stepping stone for him to prove his worth at the biggest stage. “I am very happy to have won it. But there is a long way to go. I am aiming at booking a berth in the Indian squad for the 2012 London Olympics. That is not an easy task,” says Vikas, hailing from the small Haryana town of Bhiwani, the land of boxing icon and Olympic bronze medallist Vijender Singh.
Vikas has another similarity with his idol Vijender. The teenager is also a product of the famous Bhiwani Boxing Club (BBC), run by Dronacharya awardee coach Jagdish Singh (who has also coached the likes of Akhil Kumar and Jitender Kumar).
Vikas is proud of the place he hails from. “In Bhiwani, we look up to Vijender Singh. He is our hero,” he says. Then he acknowledges the contribution of Jagdish Singh. “He has shaped my career. Since Vijender's Olympic medal, BBC has undergone a lot of changes. You get more (facilities) than you need,” Vikas says.
Vikas' small journey to prominence is a run-of-the-mill story of a boy belonging to a typical Indian middle class family. Nobody in his family was into sport. Out of the habit of keeping fit, he tried his hand in different sports and clicked in some; he is a district level champion in badminton as well.
However, he soon discovered that he is more competent in landing punches than twirling his wrist to give direction to a shuttle cock. A decent student at the school level, Vikas faced trouble in focusing on his studies when more of his energy was required in finetuning his skills in the ring. However, his resolve has helped him pursue his graduation. On the other hand, the youth world silver medallist, Shiva Thapa is a contrast of sorts in comparison to Vikas.
The Guwahati-born Shiva is a prototype of a modern youth with a lot of dreams, reflected in his eyes, demeanour and everything he does. So, it is not surprising if he is seen on Facebook or speaks fluent English or gives you a quotable quote from the great Muhammed Ali. Sport is in his blood and Shiva has banked on it. “My father (Padam Thapa) was a practitioner of martial arts. He put me into boxing and I liked it,” says Shiva, who donned the gloves at the age of seven. Shiva's gloves made so much of an impact within the family that his elder brother Gobind also followed suit and emerged a National-level boxer. Bowled over by the techniques of Mike Tyson, the 16-year-old thinks that skills and intelligence assume equal importance in a physical sport like boxing.
Shiva, studying in Std. XII, by no means is an ordinary student and does the balancing act well despite going through the rigours of training at the Army Sports Institute (Pune).
Like every young boxer, he too nourishes hopes of getting an Olympic medal for the country. He lives the dream and it is mirrored even in his favourite pastime: music. So, if one notices the song ‘We are the champions' on his Facebook profile, one can only reply ‘amen!' The two young and hard-working boxers, with contrasting backgrounds, have achieved a lot and it is imperative that they do not to fritter away all the good work.