first_imgAsian Games gold medallist Vijender Kumar’s semifinal loss at the hands of an unknown English boxer had plunged the Indian to the depths of despair. And the only aim that remained before Vijender was to wipe this blot out by winning a medal at the Guangzhou Asiad.Vijender, having done a lot of hard work, entered the Asian Games with a lot of expectations and a belief that he had the willpower to overcome all odds in life. It took him four gruelling bouts and a dislocated thumb in the final to overpower continental giants.But when he played his heart out to defeat a two- time world champion Abbos Atoev of Kazakhstan 7- 0 in the final on Friday, he exceeded even his own expectations.” Commonwealth Games loss was like the end of the world for me. I had never imagined of losing the semi- final because of my fine form and good record at the Commonwealth level. The loss brought along a lot of criticism, so I desperately wanted to silence my critics by winning a medal at the Asian Games,” said the world No. 1 75kg category boxer.” But once I started winning bouts in Guangzhou, my confidence and belief grew. I did not take the final against Atoev lightly because he is a two- time world champion and had beaten me in the World Championships semifinals in Milan last year. But I prompted him to attack me and I scored on counterattack. The trick worked well for me I was rewarded with a dream win,” he said. ” This win was very important for me as I had to show to my critics that I am not a spent force. I have now silenced them.” Vijender, who gave India its first- ever boxing medal at the Beijing Olympics by winning the bronze, said that China has become happy hunting ground for him. ” It has been lucky for me. I won Olympic medal and a bronze in Asian Championships in Zhuhai last year. And now Asian Games gold has consolidated my record in the dragon land,” he said.advertisementThe scoreline in the final definitely shows the dominance of the Indian boxer, but it came at the cost of a dislocated left thumb in the first round. ” Seconds before the end of the first round, I hit a left punch and got a point but a sharp pain occurred and I felt I had broken my thumb.I told my coach BI Fernandes and GS Sandhu about it and they told me to stop the play if I wished. But once I knew that I was 2- 0 up, I decided to continue the bout, come what may,” he said.Once Vijender extended his lead to 5- 0 at the end of the second round, he could visualise himself cornering glory. ” When I knew that I was five points up, I became confident of victory. Sandhu then told me to play cautiously in order to avoid an injury. I did same and won the bout,” he said.India sent a 10- member boxing team at the Asiad, with Vijender and Vikash Krishan ( 60kg) clinching gold, S Santosh Kumar ( 64kg), Dinesh Kumar ( 81kg) and Manpreet Singh ( 91kg) winning silver medals, and Suranjoy Singh ( 51kg) and Paramjeet Samota ( 91+ kg) annexing a bronze each.Just before the Asiad, Asian Championships gold medallist Suranjoy was touted as India’s best bet for the gold, but local favourite Yong Chang edged him out 5- 6 in a close bout. His dreams of gold vanished, but the Manipuri boxer admitted that he is satisfied by his performance. ” Perhaps it wasn’t my day. I gave my 100 percent but the Chinese caught me on the wrong foot and took the advantage,” he said.Santosh, who had graduated to the senior category recently, said he has raised the bar for himself.” This was my first major senior competition and I exceeded the expectations. I expect myself to go up a few notches and qualify for the 2012 Olympics next year,” he said.last_img

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