Dreams are meant to be realised. On Wednesday night, boxer Vikas Krishan had dreamt he would win a gold. But as he took the two-hour journey from the Athletes' Village to the Foshan Gymnasium, he had started entertaining thoughts that perhaps dreams don't always come true.
“I had very little hope of a gold here as I was fighting against Hu Qing the 1996 Doha Asian Games gold-medallist and a much more experienced boxer than me, given that he had finished fifth in 60kg category at the 2008 Olympics," he said.
But all those thoughts were put on the backburner when his coaches Dharmender Yadav and Jagdish Singh called up from India to reignite his self-belief. The, boy who is yet to turn 19 and was competing in his first senior international competition, played an extremely tactical game, not letting his guard down in the face of a barrage of ferocious punches and attacking on the counter.
A gold was a just reward for the kind of effort he put in defending himself doggedly from the Chinese, who had the stadium rooting for him.
On Thursday, even if the stadium roof were to come down crashing, Vikas wouldn't have let his guard down. Such was his determination.
He pulled the first punch but Qing was quick to give it back in the first round. A frustrated Qing, unable to breach Vikas's defence hit him below the belt for which the Chinese was penalised two points. And by the end of the second round Vikas, a BA-IInd year student from Bhiwani, was leading 4-3.
Qing's frustrating run continued in the third round too as the Indian kept his guard up and finally won 5-4, to give India its first gold in boxing after 1998, when Ng Dingko Singh won it at the Bangkok Games.
"This is my first international competition in the senior category. I was under tremendous pressure and even nervous, before Dharmender sir called up from India and said I need to focus on my strengths," he said. "That gave me confidence. They told me to play my natural long-distance and defensive game," said the champion.
As to who he would like to credit this victory, Vikas said, "My mother, who took a promise from me on Diwali day before I boarded the flight to Guangzhou. She said, Diwali is an auspicious occasion for the Indians and I want you to come back home with a gold."
Dinesh Kumar was not so lucky against another Doha Asian Games gold-medallist, Uzbekistan's Elshod Rasulov losing 10-4, to clinch silver. A gold and a silver on Thursday in the boxing arena, has set the tone for a bigger booty on Friday. Vijender is up next.