Beijing, Aug 22: The stars had ordained Olympics glory for him even before Vijender Singh landed his first punch against Cuba's Emilio Correa Bayeaux. He lost the bout 5-8 but still marked the re-birth of the golden era in Indian boxing. "I tried my best", he told Zee News right after the match and lamented that his strategy didn't work out. It is the first time India will have three medals in its tally, a gargantuan step in the promotion of sports in the country.
He said, "I couldn't attack properly in the first round and in the third round I opened up, but it didn't work".
Vijender's coach Jagdish told Zee News that it was a great victory to get the bronze and he was proud of his pupil's feat. On the question of Vijender's back paddling during the game, he said, "Back paddling is not the problem, every boxer has his technique and one thing might not suit everyone, perhaps it was the Cuban boxer's game that did not allow Vijender to knock his deadly punches."
GS Sandhu, India's boxing coach also said that it was a credible performance of Indian boxers.
The first round saw him trail by 2-0 as the aggressive Cuban seemed to be on top of his game. The second round saw him claw back a bit to 4-3 with some hard hitting jabs. The third round saw things going tough for him as the Cuban took a 7-3 lead. The last round saw a flurry of punches that took the total to 8-5 but it was too late to come back into the match.
India had won two Olympic medals in the 1952 Helsinki Games when the hockey team won gold medal and wrestler KD Jadhav won a bronze medal, a record which stood untouched for 56 long years.
Vijender made sure India got its first-ever boxing medal and also made it the first occasion that an Indian contingent will return home from an Olympic Games with more than two medals.
Vijender Singh made up for the disappointment of Akhil Kumar and Jitender Singh not making it to the medal round by ensuring the bronze.