Name: Vikas Krishan Yadav
Discipline (sport): Boxing
Qualification: Vikas grabbed an Olympic berth with a bronze-medal finish at the International Boxing Association's (AIBA) World Qualifying Tournament at Baku, Azerbaijan.
Strengths: With just the right amount of confidence and skill, Vikas Krishan Yadav is India’s best hope for a boxing medal.
Past Olympic performance: Vikas had a shocking exit from the 2012 London Olympics' pre-quarterfinals after the jury overturned the referee decision.
Past record (best performances): Vikas won his first international medal by clinching the gold medal in the 2010 Asian Youth Boxing Championships in Tehran, Iran. He won in the 60KG Lightweight weight class.
-Vikas also won gold at the Youth World Amateur Boxing Championships in 2010, after defeating Lithuania’s Evaldas Petrauskas, the same opponent he defeated to win a bronze in the 2010 Youth Olympics. These victories established Vikas as a formidable boxer in the Lightweight category.
-He won another gold medal in the Lightweight category at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.
-At the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, he clinched the bronze medal.
-At the 2015 Asian Boxing Championships, Vikas won the silver medal in the Middleweight category after losing the final against Bektemir Melikuziev of Uzbekistan.
“Kab tak taqdeer saath nahi degi (how long will fate work against me)?” Vikas said about his chances at the upcoming Rio Olympics. He has gotten over his past disappointments, but the 2012 London Olympics still haunt him. The athlete is blunt about the psychological consequences of a potential victory that was taken away from him.
The tale of Vikas’ shocking exit from the London Olympics is a painful one. He originally won the pre-quarterfinals against USA’s Errol Spence 13:11. He was the undisputed winner. But according to the jury, Vikas committed nine holding fouls in the last round, changing the score to 15:13. After years of preparation and effort, Yadav’s triumph vanished. He was to stay back for the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s decision on his appeal, but it was hard for him to remain in London. Seeing medals being won around him affected his psyche even more.
He was disheartened to such an extent that he stayed out of the boxing ring for more than a year. He decided to focus on police training. He earned the post of Deputy Superintendent of Police in the Haryana Police, but the boxer from Bhiwani couldn’t stay away from his roots and the ring for too long.
He is now completely focused on securing a medal for India, especially since this could be his last Olympic stint. Not even the politics behind de-recognition of the Indian Boxing Federation by International Boxing Association (AIBA) has managed to stop him.
Vikas has now changed his weight class from Lightweight to Middleweight, similar to another popular former amateur boxer from Bhiwani — Olympic bronze-medallist Vijender Singh. Despite being new to the category, Vikas believes that he will be swifter than other boxers. His latest performance was at the 2015 Asian championship, where he lost against Uzbekistan’s Bektemir Melikuziev in the finals. His confidence got the better of him but he’s certain that he won’t be complacent at Rio, and will still pack enough punch to win a medal.
With inputs from agencies