London: National boxing coach Gurbaksh Singh Sandhu is all praise for the country's young pugilists who made their Olympic debut here, saying that their gritty performance has shown that Indian boxing has a bright future ahead of it.
"Akhil Kumar and Vijender Singh, performed well in their second Olympics (Beijing 2008). But now we have very young and talented boxers who are fearless and do not get overawed by the rivals I think future of Indian boxing is very good," Sandhu said referring to likes of L Devendro Singh (49kg) and Sumit Sangwan (81kg).
After Vijender's bronze medal in Beijing, India's male boxers came into these Games amid much hype but did not win a medal.
"As I had said earlier, I would have been happy if we had repeated Beijing here (in men's section). But I am satisfied with the way the boxers performed. I think there is no shame in losing, if you have given your best" he said.
"This has been the best performance of our pugilists in the Olympics till date. Only thing was that they could not translate their performances into medals," he added.
The coach asserted that performance of his boxers has been appreciated by their rivals. "Five of the seven bouts involving Indian boxers were very close or you can say went to wire and we were unlucky. Majority of our rivals are now in medal rounds," he said.
On his boxers, the coach said Devendro fought extremely well. .
"Devendro was very aggressive and boxed all the three bouts fearlessly. He missed the medal by a whisker in a bout against a formidable rival," Sandhu said.
"Shiva Thapa (56kg) was good. He is a very technical fighter. He lost to a Mexican boxer after fighting two rounds on equal terms. In the third round, he went all out which his rival wanted and lost the bout on points.
"Jai Bhagwan (60kg) started well and dominated the first round. However he could not reproduce the same form in the next two rounds and lost on points," he added.
Sandhu said Manoj Kumar (64kg) gave a good account of himself in the competition.
"Manoj Kumar gave a very good account of himself in this competition. He lost to the host boxer in quarterfinal. But he fought till the end on equal terms in a very exciting bout," he explained.
On Vijender, Sandhu said, "In quarterfinal he was pitted against a tough Uzbek opponent. He gave a good fight in two rounds but was not able to convince the judges with scores in his favour. As he was trailing after two rounds he went very aggressive in the last and ultimately lost the bout which he should have won."