Vijender Singh became India's first boxer at the London Olympics 2012 to qualify for the quarter-final on Friday. Vijender beat his American opponent in an extremely tight battle by 16-15.
It was never going to be easy for the Indian, who was fighting in blue jersey, against Terrell Gausha who won the Gold Medal in the Americas Olympic Qualification Tournament. Vijender was lucky to edge out his opponent in the first round by a solitary point. The first round was not at all convincing for him but he led 4-3.
In the second round, Gausha again looked bright but Vijender managed to keep pace and hit a few blows of his own to finish the round level at 5-5. That meant Vijender still led by a point going into the decider. The score line read 9-8.
It was precariously poised but looking really dicey for the Indian with a slender lead. Even in the final round, Gausha and Vijender exchanged blows and the suspense remained until the referee Mariusz Gorny of Poland held both the boxers' hands after the bout had gotten over. The moments would have been tense either side even as both Vijender and Gausha were clinching fists and almost celebrating before the results.
The 'blue' hand was raised and Vijender Singh qualified for the quarter-final in a closely fought battle. He ended what was a decent day for the Indian contingent at the Olympics, on a high note.
Even the Sports Minister, Ajay Maken tweeted after the bout, "Great! Today Sania, Saina, Leander and Vijender all won. Vijay 2nd in Rapid Fire! Feel Sorry for Ronjan and Kashyap! But both r Champs!"