Beijing Olympics medallist Vijender Singh was one win away to become the country's first sportsperson to bag two individual Olympic medals.
And going by his past performance in the 2010 Asian Games where Vijender had outclassed Uzbekistan's Abbos Atoev, everybody in the Indian camp was
sure that he would win on Monday too and ensure another bronze. But the hopes were punched out 13-17.
A back injury to Vijender into the second round of the bout seriously impeded his chances. "I pulled my back muscle in the second round. But it will be OK soon," he said.
"I have to accept the fate. But it was really heartbreaking. Throughout the night I thought about the bout and couldn't sleep," he said.
The 26-year-old however plans to have another go at a second Olympic medal in Rio. Perhaps that was the reason he expressed a desire to fight a higher weight category.
"I have been fighting in 75kg for the last six years. I will shift to 81kg and hope I will be able to perform well in this new category. I am not going to leave the sport. I will bounce back. Next year we have the World Championship and the Commonwealth. Then we have the Asian Games in 2014. I will be preparing hard for them. I hope to do well for India in this 81kg category and then take part in the next Olympics," Vijender said.
In the first round on Monday, Vijender was tied at three points with Atoev, but both the second and third rounds went 7-5 in favour of the Uzbekistan boxer.
"Going by my past performance, I was sure of defeating him. But on Monday, I gave it all but could not win. He is a very good boxer. I did make some mistakes which cost me. But in sport, it happens. You win some, you lose some. In the end I can only say that I will be going home empty handed," he said.
Vijender did not want to say anything about the scoring. "Now everything is already over. So, I don't think there is any point in discussing this issue whether I got the points for my scoring punches or not. I failed to win the medal, but I want Devendro to do it for all of us. He is doing very well and I am hopeful that he will move ahead," Vijender said.
Even on Tuesday, chief national coach Gurbux Singh Sandhu was coming to terms with the fact that Vijender was actually out of medal contention.
"He performed well in both of his earlier bouts and even on the Monday morning he was optimistic about the quarterfinal bout.
"He was in a good frame of mind. But things didn't work out in his favour and he lost," Sandhu said.
"I spoke to him in the evening and he said he was feeling better. I know it's very difficult to digest defeat especially at this stage when you were just a step away from a medal. But this is a fact in every sportspersons' life."