Friday, August 22, 2008

Vijender loses in semis; settles for bronze

Boxer Vijender Singh could not convert India's third Olympic medal from bronze into silver or gold by losing his middleweight (75kg) bout here on Friday.( Watch )

Vijender lost 5-8 to Cuban Emilio Correa Bayeaux in a closely contested semi-final at the Workers Gymnasium, but his will be the first-ever boxing medal for India.

Both the losing semi-finalists are awarded bronze.

Emilio, a two-time Pan-American Champion, was clearly the better boxer on view with his quick footwork and reach. To Vijender's credit, he fought gallantly to carry the bout right into the fourth round, though the portents were clear that the Cuban had the edge by the end of the third round.

Vijender, who conceded a 0-2 lead in the first round, fought back brilliantly in the second round to reduce the margin to 3-4. But Emilio came back strongly in the third round and scored three points to take a big lead of 7-3.

In the fourth and last round, Vijender tried his best, but the Cuban made sure he stayed in the lead with his passive movements. A warning to the Cuban fetched the Indian two more points, but Vijender could not really launch himself and went down 5-8.

Vijender's bronze is the third medal in what turned out to be the best Olympics for India. Last week shooter Abhinav Bindra gave the country its first ever individual gold while wrestler Sushil Kumar won the bronze Wednesday.

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