The stars had failed to deliver, but Indian boxing asserted its strength as all three finalists delivered the gold medals, though one of them did not have to throw a punch following a walk-over.
It was the best ever performance of Indian boxers in the Commonwealth Games, as only two others had won gold medals in all the previous editions put together.
National coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu showered praise on the boxers, and observed that those who had predicted five gold medals for India in boxing, were not far off target, though he himself was wary of making any prediction.
“There was a lot of pressure, particularly after Vijender had lost, and others, Akhil, Manpreet, Dinesh. We had distributed the work among the coaches,'' said coach Sandhu.
Though he praised all the three, the coach was particularly impressed with Paramjeet Samota winning the 90 plus kg category, against a boxer who was 10 kg heavier than him.
“It is the will of Samota and his dad,'' said the coach.
Samota was quite relaxed and said that his whole village in Bhiwani was waiting for his return. “When I was warming up, the opponent came close to me, as if to intimidate me. I told the coach that I did not fear him, and you don't need to fear. I can tackle him. The public supported me so much, and the shouts of ‘come on India' and ‘India jeetega' inspired me,'' observed Samota.
Suranjoy Singh was quite smart with his response to the media when queried as to how he felt about winning the final on a walk-over. “I wanted to show a good performance. It was the final, and I thought that I would finish him in two rounds'', said Suranjoy, nick-named Chhota Tyson for his fearless fighting when he is willing to take punishment.
“If you are a boxer, you have to be prepared to take punches. I know that I can give more punches,'' said Suranjoy.
Manoj Kumar said that he never lost confidence despite staying away from the ring because of a wrist injury. He said that he had confidence in his hard work, and had changed from being defensive boxer, and had started playing a clean game with sharp punches, as he had realised that, “you can't win without punching''.
Coach Sandhu said that the boxers will relax for a few days before getting ready for the tougher challenges in the Asian Games.
Talking about Akhil Kumar who was not part of the Asian Games squad, the coach said it was up to Akhil to make up his mind to fight his way back to glory days once again.
Keywords: Commonwealth Games