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Vijender Kumar secures India's first boxing medal

The referee declares Vijender Kumar (R) of India the winner in the men's middleweight quarterfinal 4 boxing match Carlos Gongora of Ecuador at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 20, 2008. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

BEIJING (Reuters) - Middleweight Vijender Kumar secured India’s first boxing medal when he outpointed Ecuador’s Carlos Goncora in the Beijing quarter-finals on Wednesday.

Kumar extended an impressive run by winning a 9-4 points decision to reach the last four and make sure of at least a bronze.

Since first sending seven boxers to the 1948 Games in London, the Indians have failed to reach the medal rounds in all 12 Olympics they have participated in.

Cheered on by a small but raucous Indian contingent at the Workers’ Gymnasium, the 23-year-old took a 2-0 lead in the first round and firmly defended it in the three close rounds that followed.

“It was a very tough bout and I want to do better next time,” Kumar, who was mobbed by thrilled Indian supporters after his win, told Reuters.

“Everybody is very excited and the whole of India was watching on television,” he added. “This is a historic moment in my life.”

Kumar might struggle in his semi-final against Cuba’s Emilio Correa, who advanced by outpointing Uzbek Elshod Rasulov 9-7.