BEIJING 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.
Trending On Reuters
A heat wave in India has killed more than 1,100 people this week as temperatures soar above 47 Celsius (116.6 Fahrenheit), and doctors' leave has been cancelled to help cope with the sick. Full Article
Japan nuclear regulator finishes review on Kyushu reactors, could be first to restart. Full Article
Factbox - China's leaders sign $80 bln of deals with India, Brazil and others. Full Article
Obama administration asks U.S. top court to decline Google copyright appeal. Full Article
Iraq Shi'ite militia take lead in campaign to reverse Islamic State gains Full Article