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And a Gold for Press

Jitender got 10 stitches after the pre-quarters. The media kept silent so that his medical clearance wasn’t jeopardised, reports Saurabh Duggal.

india Updated: Aug 27, 2008 00:30 IST
Saurabh Duggal

For once, the reporters weren’t being reporters.

Known for their ‘exposes’, they were, for a change, united by a common cause — to help get India an Olympic medal in boxing. That Vijender and not Jitender bagged the medal was just a coincidence.

Flyweight boxer Jitender had suffered a deep cut under his chin during his pre-quarterfinal bout against Tulashboy Doniyorov of Uzbekistan and the Indian received 10 stitches. But the entire Indian media kept ‘silent’ on the insistence of chief national coach, Gurbux Singh Sandhu.

“Following the pre-quarterfinal bout against the Uzbek boxer, Jitender got 10 stitches under his chin. When the Indian reporters came to interview him, we requested them not to highlight his injury as it would have been difficult to get medical clearance for him. Even his opponent in the quarterfinal could have taken advantage of it,” said Sandhu on his arrival at the IGI airport on Monday night.

“Nobody mentioned his injury till the quarterfinal bout was over and we are thankful to the media contingent present there for the great favour it did for us and for the country.

"In the period between his two bouts, he was given internal stitches and plastic surgery was done, so that the injury would not be visible at the time of his medical check-up," said Sandhu.

Jitender's mentor, Akhil, too was worried about the injury. "I was worried as it was a deep wound and chances were he would not have passed the medical check-up. But we got his surgery done from the best medical expert in Beijing and it helped," said Akhil. He also thanked the media for not highlighting the injury.

Jitender went on to lose his quarterfinal bout but not before he had given a tough fight to his Russian opponent Georgy Balakshin.

The coach and the boxers were also thankful to Doordarshan for providing video recordings of their opponents' bouts, so that they could chalk out strategies well in advance.

"DD was of great help. It provided us with the video recordings we asked for and we made our plans by watching them," said Sandhu.

Shall we say, a medal for the Indian media corps too!