Bangkok, Feb 3: Pugilist Akhil Kumar brought glory to India when he out-punched Olympic silver medallist Worapoj Pitchkoom to complete an all-conquering run at the Asian Olympic Qualifiers by clinching India"s lone gold medal and being adjudged the best boxer of the meet here today.
The 27-year-old bantam weight pugilist, who yesterday became the second Indian after AL Lakra to qualify for the Beijing Olympics, drubbed the local favourite 21-11. Apart from Akhil"s gold, India ended the tournament with a rich haul of three bronze medals through Amandeep Singh (48kg), Dinesh Kumar (81kg) and Manpreet Singh (91kg).
For Akhil, the triumph caps a fantastic comeback from a career-threatening wrist injury, which kept him out of action for more than half of 2007. “It is indescribable, mind numbing ... I never thought that I would be able to come this far after that injury which had rendered my right hand useless for some time," he said. “It took a surgery and months of rehabilitation before I entered the ring again. Now that I have qualified for Beijing, it has given me fresh impetus."
The Indian stepped into the ring today with everything to win and hardly anything to lose.