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Boxers win bronze at Athens

Source: PTI
June 01, 2004 17:49 IST
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In a boost to India's Olympic medal hopes, pugilists Akhil Kumar and Vijender returned with bronze medals from a pre-Olympic boxing tournament in Athens.

The May 26-30 championship, a precursor to the main event, was organised by the Olympic Committee to test the facilities for the Games' tournament, starting in the Greece capital on August 22.

Afro-Asian Games gold medallist Akhil was, however, "not satisfied" with his effort and believes he can perform better at the main event with a little more training.

"I have full confidence that I'll bring home one medal from Athens," said Akhil, who lost to an Olympic champion in the semi-finals and had to settle for third place.

The 23-year-old said, "With experience I have raised my standards and I was not awestruck by the boxers there."

Akhil disclosed that although he competes in the 51kg category, he decided to contest in the 54kg to "test" himself.

A first timer at the Olympics, Akhil also admitted, "The Athens experience was very helpful and it would give me a proper direction to prepare for the main event. I have to work to improve my left hook."

Vijender, the youngest Indian boxer to ever qualify for the Olympics, said he was hampered by an injury in his hand.

The duo will now join the two other Olympic qualifiers -- Jitender and Diwakar Prasad – in a training camp in Patiala.

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