For Jai Bhagwan, it cannot get bigger than this. Once an estranged boxer, who fled the National camp and thought of leaving the sport, bagging his maiden international gold at the XXX Energy Drinks Commonwealth Championships is a return to his roots.
A boxer’s tryst with destiny is fraught with blood and sweat. And, till the last punch is traded, no one can say for sure that the medal is won. On Wednesday, the torment Jai Bhagwan faced in the ring almost drained him. It made his steps heavy and the fiery punches turned cold. He even thought that the bout had slipped away.
“In the second round, my opponent (Valention Knowles of the Bahamas) landed some solid combination of punches,” said Jai Bhagwan.
“With his formidable defence, he seemed impregnable. I thought I would be the only one spoiling India’s party. Before me, three of my teammates had won gold and I was confident Vijender would also win,” he said after the bout.
In the third round, however, Jai Bhagwan went all out. “That’s what I did,” he said. “I fought with purpose and went after my opponent.”
Giving credit for his victory to his friend and guide, Vijender, Jai Bhagwan said, “He has given direction to my life and now,
I want to win an Olympic medal.”
Like Jai Bhagwan, Amandeep and Parmajeet Samota also won their first international gold medals.
“Last year, I did not get too many chances as Nanao Singh was the number one boxer. This year, after beating him, I secured a place in the team,” explained Amandeep who ruled the 49kg bout.
“The selectors and the chief coach chose me ahead of Nanao for the Championships and I am happy I didn’t let them down.” Amandeep missed the Beijing Olympic quota by a whisker in the second qualifier and he was not picked for the third qualifier because he skipped the national trials.
The Mongolian boxer, whom he had defeated in the quarterfinals of the second qualifier, claimed silver at the Beijing Olympic Games.
“Missing the trials of the third Olympic qualifiers was the biggest mistake of my life. But now I want to make up for that loss. The gold in the Commonwealth Championships is a step towards achieving my ultimate goal --- an Olympic medal,” said the boxer from Punjab.