Beijing, Aug 20: Akhil Kumar's wound may never heal but fellow pugilists Vijender and Jitender believe they can at least ease it by winning their quarterfinal bouts on Wednesday and assure an Olympic medal that eluded their senior teammate.
"Now that the medal slipped through Akhil's fingers, the best way we can console him is by winning medals ourselves. In his absence, the expectation is on us and we will give our best," Vijender, who faces Carlos Gongora of Ecuador in the 75 kg category, said.
Akhil, who beat world champion Sergey Vodopyanov in the pre-quarters, lost to unheralded Moldovan Gojan Veaceslav in the 54kg quarterfinals on Monday.
Jitender, Akhil's protege, said he wanted to win it for his mentor.
"As I have been telling, Akhil is everything for me. I was completely shattered by his defeat and even his persuasion could not lift my spirit," the 21-year-old, on his maiden Olympic trip, said.
"Wherever I am, it's all because of him. He was just unfortunate to lose the battle and I want to make him feel better and I want to win only for him," said the youngster, who, if he upsets three-time European champion Russian Georgy Balakshin, could well be the first Indian boxer ever to assure himself of an Olympic medal.
Vijender said Akhil's defeat was an eye-opener for him and he would step into the ring, fully prepared.
"I have not fought Gongora earlier and hence it's a tricky situation. I have seen his recordings and preparing accordingly. He is of my height and is a tricky customer. So it's going to be a no-holds-barred bout," said the 22-year-old Haryana boxer.
And if there is one lesson to learn from Akhil's defeat, it is never to underestimate any opponent.
"So many world champions and Olympic champions have been upstaged, you just cannot take things for granted," Vijender said.
Jitender, meanwhile, has another agenda and that is to settle score with Balakshin to whom he lost by just one point in last year's World Championships in Chicago.
"I lost to him once but I would not let history repeat itself. I have a score to settle and besides, I have to win it for Akhil," said the youngster.