New Delhi, Aug 27 (UNI) Vijender Kumar did not lack skills against the best boxers of the world but India's Cuban coach Blas Iglesias Fernandez believes that the Indian could have stood higher on the podium, had he not given a two-point lead to Emelio Correa Bayeaux in the opening round of his semi-final bout at the Olympics.
Talking to UNI here last night, Fernandez said, ''I think both Vijender and his opponent were equal to the task and there was not much to differentiate between the two in terms of skills.'' When the whole of India was glued to its television sets hoping that Vijender will go on to win the semi-final bout against his Cuban rival Emilio Correa, the Indian was outpointed by his opponent 8-5 to end his campaign but not before he had assured his country of a bronze medal.
Fernandez said both the boxers had similar approach in the first round but Correa was lucky to take a lead of two points in the first round, which proved to be very crucial in the context of the match.
''Both Vijender and Correa took a catious approach to start with but the Cuban boxer took an early lead and with, when the score finishes at 8-5, a couple of points can decide the winner,'' he noted.
However, the coach was all praise for the Indian boxers and said in coming years, India will emerge as a strong boxing nation.
He added that the boxers had been preparing very hard for past four-five years and their performance was a result of the efforts that they had put in over the years.
''All the boxers - Vijender, Jitender and Akhil - were really very good and it was unfortunate that we could not bag a couple of more medals in boxing, which was very much on the cards.'' ''They have been practising quite hard for a long time and at the Olympics they did what they are capable of,'' he added.
UNI RAR PY AS1758