Asian Games 2018: A look at Vikas Krishan's rise in boxing as he captures a bronze medal
The talented Indian boxer Vikas Krishan settles for a bronze medal in the Middleweight (75 kg) category on account of being declared medically unfit to compete further in the ongoing Asian Games at Jakarta due to a cut on his left eyelid sustained earlier in the event. With this win, he became the first Indian boxer to clinch three successive Asian Games medals.
The 26-year old boxer from Haryana was scheduled to lock horns with Kazakhstan’s Amankul Abilkhan to carry his campaign ahead but has been forced out due to the injury.
Winning prestigious medals by competing all over the world for India has certainly not been an easy road to travel for the boxer. Excruciatingly long hours of dedicated training for about 16 years, sacrifices, and strictly disciplined life have been the basics he has followed to reach so far.
Over 8 years of his senior international career, Vikas has fought in different weight categories and has won medals in each of them and is a proud winner of the prestigious Arjuna Award for his contributions towards Indian boxing in 2012.
Born in the small village of Singhwa Khas in the Hisar district of Haryana in 1992, Vikas shifted to Bhiwani district in 1994 when his father Krishan Kumar Yadav was transferred to this city. In 2003, at the age of 10, Vikas joined the Bhiwani Boxing Club to train professionally and showed promise. He later shifted to Pune for advanced training at the Army Sports Institute of Pune after learning the basics of the sport in Bhiwani.
Making a name for himself
His hard work paid off well as he was selected to represent India at the 2010 Asian Youth Boxing Championship held at Tehran. He created a buzz in the boxing world as he delivered phenomenally well to capture the gold medal in the Lightweight category. He followed up with a bronze medal in the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics held at Singapore.
The wonderkid of Indian boxing continued making waves of success with his fierce strikes, terrific movements, and sound defence as he went on to add two more international gold medals to his name at the 2010 Youth World Amateur Boxing Championships by defeating Evaldas Petrauskas of Lithuania. The latter was the same opponent he defeated earlier at the Youth Olympics and at the 2010 Asian Games in China.
Shifting to the Welterweight category (69 kg) in 2011, he earned a bronze medal at the 2011 World Amateur Boxing Championships, one of only 4 ever by an Indian.
The 2012 Olympics, London
A very confident Vikas Kishan's dreams of winning an Olympic gold crashed in the preliminary round itself when he failed to qualify, despite initially being the winner 13:11. The summer Olympic of 2012 was held in London. His opponent, Errol Spence of the United States, successfully appealed to the AIBA (Amateur International Boxing Association) about Vikas's foul.
The AIBA reports declared the US athlete the winner of the game. India filed a counter-appeal for the decision but that was not successful. After the failed appeal, India took the case to the CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport) but was unsuccessful this time too.
A statement from CAS read, "There is no provision in the AIBA Technical and Competition Rules allowing for an appeal against the decision of the competition jury in relation to a protest. The decision of the competition jury is final and cannot be appealed."
After that, he worked hard in silence, switched to the Middleweight (75 kg), and in 2014, he scored a bronze medal for India at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, after losing to Zhanibek Alimkhanuly of Kazakhstan in the semi-final round of the tournament.
In 2015, he won a silver medal at the 2015 Asian Boxing Championships.
The 2016 Rio Olympics and hitting rock bottom in 2017
He qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics by finishing with a bronze medal at the Olympic qualifiers held in Baku in June 2016. He defeated USA's Charles Cornell and Önder Şipal of Turkey to progress but failed to make it big as he exited from the Rio Olympics after getting defeated by Uzbekistan's Bektemir Melikuzeiv.
During this time, both he and boxing in India were at their lowest points. Things weren't looking good and his career continued to suffer.
By 2017, he was happily married and had 3 kids. There were a lot of doubts in his mind regarding his career and things turned ugly when in 2017, after reaching the semi-finals of the Asian Boxing Championships, Vikas surprisingly decided to forfeit the match and turn professional by heading to the World Series of Boxing.
This decision stirred a lot of turbulence and surprise. There were claims of him testing the Federation but no one really understood what's going on. He was summoned to a hearing to explain his actions and was threatened with suspension. He was eventually let off with a warning.
By this time, he also suffered a serious wrist injury known as avascular necrosis, as reported by his friend and his orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Vipin Madhogarhia who is an IBF (Indian Boxing Federation) registered offical.
Back to his feet and delivering in a big way
Amidst the struggles and falling out from boxing, he started afresh and made his comeback in Feb, 2018 at the 69th Strandja Memorial Tournament held in Bulgaria, where he captured the gold.
He went on to win yet another gold at the 21st Commonwealth Games held at the Gold Coast, Australia after defeating Dieudonne Wilfried Seyi Ntsengue of Cameroon by 5-0 points in an unanimous decision in the Middleweight category. With this win, he became the 2nd Indian boxer after Mary Kom to win the gold at both the Asian and the Commonwealth Games.
In his recent bronze medal victory by defeating China’s Tuoheta Erbieke Tanglatihan in a gruelling bout at the ongoing Asian Games, he looked in splendid touch. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to compete further in the tournament owing to an eye injury but he has surely made his nation proud with his hard work and dedication.