Somjit Jongjohor from Thailand claimed the men's 51kg boxing title at the Beijing Olympics on Saturday, beating Andris Laffita Hernandez from Cuba 8-2 in the final.
Somjit Jongjohor from Thailand claimed the men's 51kg boxing title at the Beijing Olympics on Saturday, beating Andris Laffita Hernandez from Cuba 8-2 in the final.[Xinhua]
Somjit, the 2003 world champion and playing his third Olympics in Beijing, made a solid start in the first bout at 2-0 and then claimed the next four points in the second bout while the Cuban pulled one point back to trail 6-1 behind at the end of the bout.
"I knew that this bout was going to be very hard. He's a good boxer and I think that either one of us could have won, but he took shots. Now I want to wish all the other Cuban boxers good luck. Anyway it is a good fight," said a disappointed Hernandez, who won at the Pan American Championships 2008.
Somjit was never really threatened in the next two bouts, closing out the final at 8-2 for the second gold medal for Thailand in the Beijing Games.
Thailand has won a gold medal in weightlifting.
"I beat him (Hernandez) many times in the past. All my life I have been waiting for today," said Somjit, who finished ninth in the Athens Games. "I went through so much, hurt so much, but I have been trying my hardest."
"I've been training very hard for years for the Olympics and it is also a great honor to bring a gold medal for Thailand.
"I want to thank all the Thai people, all the journalists and the eight Thai boxers who also fought for Thailand. I'm pretty sure that people from Thailand would be happy about my achievement, like I am," the 33-year-old added.
The Thai lost in the third round at Athens before claiming his first ever world title in the 2003 World Championships, but it was the Beijing title that the Thai thought was his peak of career.
"I have competed in the Olympics for 12 years, I had thought the year of 2003 and 2004 were the best years of my life, right age and keeping fit, but the title here was a bigger dream for me, I felt very happy about that," the Thai said.
The prize money he wins back home will be partially donated to charities.
"I will donate part of my prize money to some charity work, buy food for the needy and boxing equipment as well for the boxing schools," the Thai said.
(Xinhua News Agency August 23, 2008)