Faced with tough opponents in the initial rounds itself, Asian Games gold-medallist Vijender (75kg) lost in the first round, while Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Suranjoy (51kg) exited in the second round. But the duo put behind their own disappointment to inspire their teammates, four of whom - L Devendro Singh (49kg), Jai Bhagwan (60kg), Manoj Kumar (64kg) and Vikas Krishan (69kg) -qualified for the Olympics.
Among them, Vikas clinched a bronze emulating Olympic hero Vijender's feat two years ago in Milan.
Sandhu said the two established boxers took the debacle in their stride and focussed on helping their teammates.
"I give credit to Vijender for keeping the morale of the team up. I am sure he will come back strongly in the Asian Olympic Qualifiers next year. And no praise is enough for Suranjoy. He was there with Devendro all through, helping him and training him. He forgot about his own defeat and helped this young boy immensely," said Sandhu. Devendro too acknowledged Suranjoy's contribution in his good performance. "He is the reason I have qualified for the Olympics. He was looking after everything, from my diet to training to inspiring me. He was there with me all through," said Devendro.