London Olympics 2012: Boxers Vijender Kumar, Jai Bhagwan storm into pre-quarters
Vijender Kumar Beniwal has time and again talked of wanting to improve on his Beijing Olympics bronze medal. On Friday night, egged on by a decent crowd, the Indian hero registered a comprehensive 14:10 win against Kazakhstan’s Danabek Sukhanov to enter the 75kg category pre-quarter finals.The name of the boxing arena in London is called ‘Excel.’ If Vijender wanted to gain inspiration from it, he did so as he won his bout with a good mixture of measured tactics and sound technique.In the first round, Vijender sized up his opponent well and the hard right-hander in the final seconds helped him take a 5:4 lead.In the second round, the Indian role model and the Kazakh pugilist stayed in the centre of the ring. Again, towards the closing stages of the round, Vijender had a left upper cut to gain the lead.Once into the decider, Vijender did look a bit tired. But having garnered so much experience in these four years post Beijing, he did nothing in a rush of blood and won his bout comfortably.National coach GS Sandhu said: “It was a tough opening bout and Vijender boxed cautiously. In the first round, he led by a point and repeated the same in the second round.””Yes, Vijender’s experience is very useful but let us not forget these are the Olympics and the world’s best are competing,” added Sandhu.Later, Vijender said: “I am happy to win the first round and have given the team a good start. It’s now on to the next challenge,” said the 26-year-old.Vijender will now take on Terrell Gausha of USA in the pre-quarters on August 2.Gausha got the better of Andranik Hukobyan of Armenia in the opening round with referee stopping contest.The story of Gausha is a fascinating one. As one who made it to the American team at the last minute, he is respected by his federation.”I think Gausha is a very talented boxer with great skill and a technical mindset,” Anthony Bartkowski, the executive director of USA Boxing has said.”So there’s very little we needed to do with him in that regard. Now it’s just harnessing all that energy,” added Bartowski.At age 20, Gausha had chucked boxing and got married and had a kid. But the way he has bounced back after four years has been incredible.This time around, USA Boxing decided that they were not going to pick boxers for the Olympics on automatic qualification and have trials. And that’s how Gausha, who stands at five feet and 10 inches made the grade.advertisementJai Bhagwan storms into pre-quartersCommonwealth Games bronze medallist Jai Bhagwan (60kg) moved into the pre-quarterfinals as he got past Allisop Andrique of Seychelles on Sunday afternoon.Jai Bhagwan used his height and reach and was not bothered by the big occasion. Competing in the Olympics for the first time, the 26-year-old Indian showed court craft and technical superiority.In the first game, he opened up a quick 7:3 lead and in the second he registered a same score with smart punches.Once into the last round, Bhagwan still looked energetic as he used offence and defence for an 18:8 win.Bhagwan knows his next round opponent as well when he faces Gani Zhailauov from Kazakhstan. Coach Sandhu said Bhagwan had lost to the same boxer in the AIBA world championship quarter-finals.