Vijender Singh's hopes of representing India at Rio reached an end yesterday after Vikas Krishan took the Rio berth in the category by entering the semifinal at the AIBA qualifier. With the 75 kg quota in Krishan's able hands, Vijender will now concentrate on his Asia title bout coming up in Delhi.
It was always going to be touch-and-go for Vijender ever since the International Boxing Association (AIBA) announced last month that professionals could take part in the Rio Olympics. Vijender had expressed his eagerness to wear the national colours again and had said that he is “ready to even pay from my own pocket”.
Vijender's only way to qualify for Rio was through the qualifiers the AIBA is set to conduct in Venezuela in the first week of July. It put the event just days ahead of his WBO Asia title bout on July 16. That, however, had not deterred the Olympian who, back then, had said, "I will definitely try and participate in the Venezuela tournament. Representing Indian in the Olympics is a dream. What I have learnt that the Venezuela qualifiers and Asian Title Bout are not clashing. So, I can give it a shot. But, we will discuss the issue after the Baku qualifiers and how Indians have fared in that”.
I would have loved to have a shot at Olympic qualification but as things stand now, I will continue fighting in the pro arena. I am very happy for the boys who have qualified as they have done it against all odds," added Vijender.
The story had a bittersweet ending yesterday after Krishan entered the semifinal of the event in the 75kg category in emphatic fashion winning 3-0 against Korea's Lee Dongyun. While disappointed, Vijender took it in his stride and sent his wishes to Krishan for the match-up today and also for the Rio Olympics.
"I wish Vikas all the best and I hope he gets a gold medal in Rio. My best wishes are also with Shiva Thapa (56kg) and Manoj Kumar (64kg) who have also qualified for the Games," Vijender told PTI from Manchester.
The bittersweet ending augurs well, however, for Indian boxing as Vijender can now concentrate on his title fight in front of his home crowd in Delhi on July 16. One also hopes Krishan now makes the most of this opportunity and brings home a medal, given India is sending only a three-member male contingent this time down from the heights of London in 2012.
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