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Vijender, Akhil bag bronze in Arafura Games

May 12, 2011 18:55 IST

Vijender Singh (81kg) and Akhil Kumar (56kg) settled for bronze medals after losing in the semi-finals, but the women pugilists kept India's chances of a boxing gold in the Arafura Games alive as all three advanced to the final in their respective categories in Darwin, Australia, on Thursday.

On a disappointing day for the men, Vijender and Akhil bowed out after contrasting defeats.

While Vijender lost 16-17 to New Zealand Sam Rapira in a thrilling encounter, Akhil went down 13-24 to Australia's Balla Ibrahim.

But Pinki Jhangra (51kg), Meena Rani (60kg), Pooja Rani (75kg) advanced to the final, keeping India's hopes for gold afloat.

Among the men, Akhil was the first to enter the ring on Thursday and though he left his rival bloodied, the 29-year-old trailed in the points count.

He was down 4-7 in the opening three minutes before the gap widened to 8-15 and 13-24 ultimately.

"I gave it my all, but in the end it's a loss. I am disappointed with the result but not with my effort. It was a good bout. I was competing after seven months and I am satisfied; I hope to peak as more tournaments come," Akhil said from Darwin.

Vijender's bout was a closer affair. The scores were tied 4-4 in the opening round with Rapira withstanding some harsh blows from the Indian.

The Olympic and World Championship bronze-medallist Indian took a point's lead in the second round but the Kiwi boxer managed to sneak away with victory by notching a couple of crucial points in the final three minutes.

This was the 25-year-old's first international event in the 81kg category. The Haryana-lad is world No 1 in the 75kg division and will return to it for the Olympic qualifiers later this year.

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