New Delhi: Handicapped by a dislocated thumb and up against a two-time world champion, Indian boxer Vijender Singh today said he still managed to pull off the Asian Games gold medal as "luck was back" on his side a month after deserting him at the Commonwealth Games.
World number one Vijender blanked Uzbekistan`s two-time world champion Abbos Atoev in the Asian Games final despite dislocating his thumb in the opening three minutes of the bout.
Recalling the tense moments, the 25-year-old, whose hand is currently heavily bandaged, said a power-packed left hook led to the dislocation and leaving him to fight practically with one hand.
"My hand was in a terrible state even before the Asian Games but it completely broke at the worst possible time. It was in the closing stages of the first round. I got the score for that left hook but I knew my hand was gone. I immediately told my coach that I cannot move it," Vijender said upon his return to the country from Guangzhou on Monday.
"I asked the coach what the scoreline was, he told me it was 2-0. I thought I will give it a shot and continued. In the second round, I was not using my left hand at all. I was just swaying it once in a while to scare off Atoev, who thankfully didn`t get an idea as to what had happened," he said.
"When I took a 5-0 lead in the second round, I knew the bout was mine from here. I kept praying to almighty and I think that also helped. In the end, I guess I got lucky, god was with me," he added.
The Olympic and World Championships bronze-medallist had settled for a rather disappointing bronze at the CWG here after losing in the semifinals due to a couple of warnings for clinching. And Vijender said the Asiad gold has finally wiped off the disappointment.
"That loss completely shattered me. I hadn`t felt so miserable in a long time. When I went to the Asiad, I was taking it one bout at a time. I think I peaked at the right time besides China is lucky for me. My rise started in Beijing after all," Vijender said referring to his breakthrough
"At the CWG, there were just too many distractions around me. The fact that so many people know me becomes a problem at times because then it takes away the focus. I like to go into a shell during major events. Keep to myself and focus, at the Asiad I could do that. There was peace around me and that helped me remain calm," he said.
"Moreover, it was my day. When I lost to Atoev in the World Championships, it was his day. Luck is a major factor. One cannot rule that out," he added.
"My toughest bout was the first one. I took the Chinese Taipei guy lightly initially but he fought hard before I got into the groove at just the right time."
The Haryana-lad also credited Cuban coach B I Fernandes for his success.
"Fernandes has a sharp mind and he keeps giving advice from the sidelines. In Guangzhou, because there was not much noise around me, I could actually hear him and put his advice to use. In Delhi, his voice used to get drowned in all the hooting," he explained.
At least a month-long break follows from here before Vijender starts preparing for the World Championships and the Olympic qualifiers for 2012 Games in London.
"I am desperate to go home and eat to my heart`s content. It`s impossible to explain what we go through when we are maintaining weight for tournaments," he signed off.