Vijender, Mary Kom bring cheer

Indian pugilists drew a blank at Rio

Indian boxing began its Olympics journey after Independence with representation in 1948 and 1952 Games. However, there was no participation for the next 20 years owing to different issues.

The country’s boxers competed in the mega event from 1972 onwards, but without any significant results for several decades.

Heartbreak for Gurcharan

Gurcharan Singh’s controversial quarterfinal loss in the 2000 Sydney Games was the first instance of an Indian boxer getting close to an Olympic medal.

In the 81kg last-eight bout, in which Gurcharan and his rival Andriy Fedtchouk were tied on 12 points, the Ukrainian was declared the winner based on a tie-break score of 60-42.

Eight years down the line, Vijender Singh (75kg) claimed a bronze in Beijing to become the first Indian to land an Olympic medal.

The creditable performance of Akhil Kumar (54kg) and Jitender Kumar (51kg), who reached the quarterfinals, also won hearts and made the sport popular.

Four years later, eight boxers qualified for the London Olympics. Even as the men returned empty-handed, M.C. Mary Kom (51kg) — then a five-time World champion — secured a bronze medal on women’s boxing’s Olympics debut.

After drawing a blank in Rio, the Indian boxers are keen to get back on the medals tally in Tokyo.

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