India's golden hopes shattered, Vijender falls in semis

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{image-Vijendar-great picture_22082008.jpg www.oneindia.com}Beijing, Aug 22: Vijender Kumar's great run in the 74 kg Bantem Weight event in Beijing Games was halted by the Cuban Emilio Correa after the Cuban coasted to a comfortable 8-5 win in the semi-final bout at the Workers' Gymnasium here on Friday.

Vijender looked under pressure in the round one as Cuban earned two early points with two quick jabs. However the young pugilist from Bhivani made a strong comeback in second round with his trademark straight punches and upper cuts which earned him three points but conceded two. After the second round the Cuban lead 4-3.

The chip of the old bloc Emilio Correa (Jr) - his father Correa (Sr) had won gold in the middle weight in Munich Games 1972- was class act. He was more tactical and technically sound than his Indian counterpart. He relentlessly attacked his opponant in the final two rounds, who was content in garnering points thro' counter-attack, and ensured gold medal clash with a comfortable 8-5 win.

Young Vijender, who had ensured India a bronze on Tuesday after beating Carlos Gongora (Ecu), failed to keep his nerves cool in a pressure cooker situation before going down fighting. Nonetheless the pugilist from Bhivani along with his compatriots Akhil,
Jitender - who raised medal hopes by reaching Quarter-final rounds- have done exceptionally well and in fact more than the expectations we had on our boxers.

The five-member Indian boxing contingent (four from Bhivani and one from Services), with minimum of support and infrastructure, have made India proud.

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