Vijender assures India of another Olympic medal (Boxing, Second Lead)

August 20th, 2008 - 9:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Aug 20 (IANS) Indian boxers attained glory in the ring with middleweight (75 kg) competitor Vijender Kumar punching his way Wednesday into the Beijing Olympic semifinal where he will at least get a bronze, the country’s first ever Olympic medal from the discipline.The boxer-turned-model carved out an emphatic 9-4 victory over Ecuador’s Carlos Gongora here Wednesday in a lop-sided quarterfinal at the Workers’ Gymansium. Both losing semfinalists are given bronze in the discipline.

Taking to the ring on a day the country won a surprising bronze in wrestling through freestyle (66 kg) competitor Sushil Kumar, Vijender never kept anyone in doubt about his victory since the bout started at the Workers’ Gymnasium.

The spectacular showing of the pugilist from the Bhiwani stable in the northern state of Haryana also helped to forget the disappointment of a quarter final defeat a couple of hours back of india’s flyweight (51 kg) boxer Jitender Kumar, who was also a bout away from a medal.

In the opening round, Vijender went ahead 2-0, putting his lethal left hooks to good use while never dropping guard, and went on widening the gulf.

Even in the fourth and last round, he tried to accumulate more points instead of defending his lead.

The Ecuadorian tried his best to stage a comeback in the fourth round, picking a couple of successive points, but by then Vijender had more or less sealed the contest.

Earlier, belying hopes of an Olympic medal, Jitender went down fighting to European Champion Georgy Balakshin of Russia 11-15.

Watched by his idol Akhil Kumar, Jitender gave one of the most aggressive performances of his career and even came back into the match after trailing 1-2 in the first round.

The second round was evenly fought and Jitender reduced the margin to 6-7. The third round, however, turned out to be a crucial one for the 20-year-old Indian, who found himself at the receiving end of the Russian’s punches. After the third round, Balakshin took a huge lead of 13-8.

In the last round, Jitender fought valiantly but the Russian, who was enjoying a lead of five points, employed defensive tactics and finally won the bout to sail into the semifinals.

“Balakshin is a very experienced boxer but Jitender fought very well and it turned out to be a very close match,” said Akhil.

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