SPORT

Akhil & Vijender get bronze

NEW DELHI, JUNE 1 . In a boost to India's Olympic medal hopes, pugilists Akhil Kumar and Vijender have returned with a bronze each from a pre-Olympic boxing tournament held in Athens.

The May 26-30 championship, a precursor to the main event, was organised by the Olympic Committee under similar conditions as expected during the competition scheduled to start in the Greece capital on August 22.

Akhil, the Afro-Asian gold medallist, was however ``not satisfied'' with his effort and believed that he could perform better at the main event with a little more training.

``I have full confidence that I'll bring home one medal from Athens,'' said Akhil, who lost to an Olympic champion in the semifinal for a third place finish.

The 23-year-old said ``with experience I have raised my standards and I was not awestruck with the boxers there.''

Akhil disclosed that although he competes in the 51kg category, he decided to contest in the 54kg to ``test'' himself.

A first timer at Olympics, Akhil also admitted ``the Athens experience was very helpful and it would give me a proper direction to prepare for the main event.

``I have to work to improve my left-hook,'' he said.

Vijender, the youngest Indian boxer to have qualified for the Olympics ever, said he was hampered by an injury in his hands.

The duo will now join the two other Olympic qualifiers — Jitender and Diwakar Prasad — undergoing a training camp in Patiala. — PTI