Boxer Akhil loses but boxing looks up in the country

August 18th, 2008 - 8:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Rohtak (Haryana), Aug 18 (IANS) Initial disappointment over the loss of Indian boxer Akhil Kumar to his Maldovian opponent Veaceslav Gojan in the bantamweight (54kg) category quarterfinal in the Beijing Olympics Monday turned into optimism about the future of boxing in the country and wishes for the two other boxers still in fray for an Olympic medal.Akhil’s 3-10 loss to Gojan was taken with “shock and disbelief” by his family, relatives and friends who had collected at his father’s residence here in the hope of seeing the Indian boxer make it to the last four stage in his event.

“We are disappointed but I am very proud of my son. Millions in this country were behind him today. We have high hopes from him in the future. I hope that Jitender and Vijender do well,” Sribhagwan, father of the 27-year-old Akhil said after his son’s loss.

“As a boxer, I can tell you that there was nothing that Akhil did wrong in his match. But his opponent had a very strong defence. Also, we felt that some of the points that Akhil could have got were not given to him in the match. He may have lost but he put up a brave fight,” fellow boxer Subodh told reporters after the match.

Akhil’s coach Jagdish Singh, who has coached the other two boxers Jitender Kumar and Vijender Kumar as well said he was disappointed but happy that Akhil was the first Indian boxer to reach the boxing quarterfinals in the Olympics.

“Both boxers were at the same level in the first two bouts but his opponent got better in the third and fourth bouts. That made a lot of difference,” Singh said.

Prayers were being offered for Akhil’s victory at his residence and other places in Haryana and other parts of the country Monday to seek blessings for his victory.

Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said that Akhil’s loss was disappointing but the way the boxer had played to reach the Olympic quarterfinals was appreciable.

“He may have lost but his performance has given a lot of boost to boxing. Now we know that Haryana has a lot of talent and proper facilities would be extended to the boxers and their coaches to prepare them for future events,” Hooda said here.

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