Never expected gold medal: Vikas

The 18-year-old Haryana boxer beat defending champion Qing Hu of China in a tense 60kg final bout a day before Vijender Singh (75kg) gave India the second Asiad gold in boxing.

The bout tested Vikas’ temperament as much as his boxing skills. “Gold was always going to be tough. I thought I would do well for myself but that I would get a gold was not what I had expected. I can’t tell you how happy I am,” Vikas said.

Asked how he managed to hold his nerve in the final, Vikas said, “I just told myself, I am the youngest member of the team. If I win, it will be good but if I lose, no one is going to complain either because I am not experienced.”

The lanky teenager took below-the-waist blows during the ill-tempered bout and was even called a ‘good actor’ by his bitter rival outside the ring.

He shrugged it off with a smile and said, “I told him that actors lose but real boxers don’t. I have beaten you, so I am real.

“I knew he is the defending champion and it would be tough against him. It was tougher than what I thought,” he recalled.
Vikas’ was India’s first Asiad boxing gold after 1998, when Dingko Singh finished on top.

“I idolise Dingko. I have seen his 1998 final bout so many times. He is an inspiration and a class boxer,” Vikas said. At a felicitation function organised by the Indian Boxing Federation, Vikas got a feel of the adulation that comes with international medals in boxing these days.

“It feels nice. Who doesn’t want to be recognised?” asked the boxer, who was in school until last year. His gold medal fetched him Rs 75,000 in Tuesday’s function while silver medallists Dinesh Kumar (81kg), V Santhosh (64kg) and Manpreet Singh (91kg) and bronze medallists Paramjeet Samota (+91kg) and Suranjoy Singh (52kg) were handed cheques of Rs 50,000 and Rs 25,000 respectively.

Women boxers MC Mary Kom and Kavita Goyat, who won bronze medals at the Asiad, were conspicuous by their absence.

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