Beijing: India's boxing heroes come home with a bronze medal and their reputation enhanced. Following their good show in Beijing, boxing is becoming India's big medal hope for the 2012 London Olympics.
Indian's boxing contingent at Beijing gave the country plenty to cheer about over the last couple of weeks with two of the boxers coming agonisingly close to winning a medal and another actually won a bronze.
But now the big question is when the excitement dies down; will the boxers be forgotten? Or will they continue to find support from a cynical nation?
As their fists pounded out those powerful blows, an entire nation resounded with a new-found pride.
After years of apparent neglect and concocted ignorance, Indian boxing had finally established its own identity - and what better place to do it than the world's greatest sporting stage.
"I had a dream today it has come true but I still want more. It was my bad luck that I could not do better. My dream of an Olympic medal has come true," Vijender Kumar said after his semi-final bout that assured him of a bronze.
Indian boxing's Olympic moment is more than just Vijender Kumar's medal. Akhil Kumar and Jitender Kumar, too, with their fearless acts have made the world sit up and take notice of the birth of a new force in a sport that not even the most positive-thinking Indian had predicted to fetch a medal, even a few weeks back.
"It has been all positive and I cannot explain it. Earlier no one used to pay any attention to us but now even those who know nothing about boxing are pointing out our mistakes," boxer Akhil Kumar said.
The euphoria is here to stay, atleast for sometime.
But what India should remember is that this was till recently, a sport that existed only in the confines of a few pockets across the country.
Yet it's this sport that will be India's biggest medal hope at 2012 Games.
"We have become a boxing nation. We have entered into the elite group of boxing and there are minimum 15-20 countries who either want to come to India for combined training or are inviting us for training," GS Sandhu, India's chief boxing coach, said.
It's not always when one feels sad when India wins bronze at Olympics but that is how sport has changed in the last couple of weeks. Vijender may have lost but India boxing and Indian sport have won.