India’s much-hyped male boxers might have drawn a blank in the London Olympics but national coach Gurbaksh Singh Sandhu on Thursday insisted that the country’s pugilists gave their “best performance” in the quadrennial sporting spectacle.
“We have fought brilliantly but have been denied a medal. We were unable to translate good performances into a medal but that does not take away the fact that the boys gave an excellent account of themselves,” Sandhu said at.
This was the biggest-ever boxing team to qualify from India for the Olympics. They were touted as strong medal
contenders but all the seven,including Beijing Olympics bronze-medallist Vijender Singh (75kg),bowed out by the quarterfinal stage in London.
It was left to the sole woman representative,M C Mary Kom (51kg),to get a bronze for Indian boxing. The Indians fell victim to some controversial officiating during the Games,marred by inconsistent scoring and refereeing.
To start with,the country’s appeal against the close opening-round loss of Sumit Sangwan (81kg) was rejected. Later,Vikas Krishan’s (69kg) pre-quarterfinal win was overturned following an appeal by the rival American team.
The Indians took the matter to Court of Arbitration through a preliminary email,but after getting legal advise they decided to drop the matter.
Next up,Manoj Kumar (64kg) lost a hard-fought contest to home favourite Thomas Stalker and cried “cheating,cheating,cheating”.
The Commonwealth Games gold-medallist was defeated despite seemingly dominating the bout and was also hard-done by refereeing as his rival was not warned for what appeared to be excessive bending.