Vijender Becomes Indian Hero with Boxing Win

Vijender BEIJING,CHINA (RUSHPRNEWS) AUGUST 21, 2008–India claimed its first ever Olympic boxing medal at the Workers’ Gymnasium on Wednesday after Vijender Kumar won his 75kg quarterfinal against Ecuador’s Carlos Gongora 9:4to guarantee himself and India at least a bronze medal.

With both losing semifinalists awarded bronze medals, India is now guaranteed to open its boxing medal account having previously sent 44 boxers for no return over 12 Olympic Games since 1948.

Pic: Vijender is the 2006 Commonweatlh Games silver medallist


“I am very happy to win a medal in boxing for India,” the 22-year-old police inspector and part-time model said. “All credit goes to my coaches and my parents, especially my father who went to a far-away temple to prey for my success.”


“Vijender fought excellent,” coach Gurbakhsh Singh said. “He was brilliant, although his opponent was a very good boxer. He really boxed well, using his mind and body at the same time. It was really fantastic.”


“I think I did well and it’s an honour to at least make it to the quarterfinals,” Gongora said. “This time I got desperate and I couldn’t control what I had to do. Now I have to focus on the 2012 Olympic Games.”


Earlier in the session, Jitender Kumar lost his 51kg quarterfinal 15:1 to the experienced Russian Georgy Balakshin, who finally reaches a semifinal of a major tournament after exiting at the quarterfinal stage of four world championships and the 2004 Olympic Games.


“Reaching the quarterfinals may seem to be an achievement but I wanted to win a medal,” 20-year-old Jitender said. “I will certainly do that at the 2012 Olympic Games. There was no pressure on me at all. Coaches were yelling from the ringside in the third round (score: 13:8), ordering me to go on all cylinders but the most troublesome thing was the stitches I have in my chin. I was very worried about the stitches, I was thinking if I get hit and started oozing blood from the chin, I may be stopped by the referee. It was really a psychological thing which played its part.”

Pic: Jitender Kumar lost to Balakshinhis 15:1


In key other results, 2005 world championship silver medallist Andris Laffita Hernandez (CUB) beat McWilliams Arroyo Acevedo (PUR) 11:2 in the first 51kg quarterfinal while in the bout of the day, 75kg Pan American champion and 2005 world championships bronze medallist Emilio Correa Bayeuax (CUB) beat Asian Games champion Elshod Rasulov (UZB) 9:7 in an epic battle which saw Rasulov receive a standing eight count in the last round with the scores tied at 7:7.


“It wasn’t easy,” Correa Bayeuax said. “I was desperate because I didn’t know him, I didn’t know his style and even though I was confident before the bout I got desperate.


“My father (1972 67kg Olympic champion Emilio Correa) gave me so much good advice and I’m trying to follow it. My dream is to become an Olympic champion just like him.”


Later in the session, Ireland, Italy, Thailand and Great Britain added to their number of semifinal boxers with advancing one boxer.


The 2008 Olympic Games boxing competition now has a rest day with the semifinals taking place on Friday, August 22 before the finals take place over two days – August 23-24. Friday’s first session starts at 13:30.

Pic: The Laffita Hernandez (CUB) – Arroyo Acevedo (PUR) bout was an intense affair despite the scoreline

Semifinal Statistics:
Total boxers: 44
Total countries represented: 20 (Armenia, Azerbaijan, China (IV), Cuba (VIII), Dominican Republic, France (III), Great Britain (III), India, Ireland (III), Italy (III), Kazakhstan (II), Korea, Mauritius, Moldova, Mongolia (II), Russia (III), Thailand (II), Turkey, USA, Ukraine (II))


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