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Monday, August 13, 2012

London Olympics-2012: India Celebrate The Best Ever Haul!

Article first published as London Olympics-2012: The Best Ever Haul For India! on Technorati.

The Six Indian Olympic Heroes!
The largest ever contingent from India to the London Olympics-2012 achieved the best ever haul of medals for the country. The quest for an elusive Gold medal remained unfulfilled, but India won 6 medals including 2 silver and 4 bronze which is double to that of 3 medals including 1 gold and 2 bronze achieved in the Beijing Olympics-2008. The Indian wrestlers provided the final boost to take the Indian tally to six. 

The desperate wait for a gold medal continued till the last hours of the London Olympics. Hopes were pinned on the Indian wrestler in 66kg freestyle category, Sushil Kumar who was scheduled to play his bouts on the final day of the Olympics that is yesterday, the 12th of August, 2012. He defeated his Turkish rival—the gold medalist in the 2008 Olympics— after an engaging fight in the first bout and entered the quarterfinals. The most electric countdown began in India for a medal—hopefully the gold. 

Sushil Kumar
In the quarterfinals Sushil Kumar overcame a tough rally from his Uzbek rival to move into the semifinals. It was again a close fight in the semifinals, but Sushil finally prevailed over his Kazakh rival in the last round and entered the finals—the first Indian player to do so in the London Olympics. Now a silver medal was assured and a gold medal hope was very close to reality. 

Sushil Kumar, reportedly suffering from a stomach upset and dehydration, failed to match his Japanese rival in the final and the gold medal hunt was lost for this Olympics. But Sushil Kumar made history by becoming the only Indian to bag two individual medals in Olympics. He won the first medal which was a bronze in Beijing in 2008 . 

Indian people and governments have been celebrating the best ever Olympic medal tally and not taking the colors of the medals seriously. The celebrations had begun earlier when shooter Gagan Narang gave India the first medal of the London Olympics. Then at the grand climax the six heroes have been welcomed all over and huge cash awards announced for all of them. But the euphoria must last longer than the London Olympics. 

Mary Kom
Indeed, considering India’s size and global prominence the medal tally looks insignificant and pathetic particularly in comparison with the top three winners—USA, China and Britain. India come a measly 55th in London Olympic rankings. But in terms of overall lack of adequate funds, sponsors, grooming, training and other facilities to general sports in India this best haul remains the biggest achievement and the people of India are rightfully happy about it. For example super-mom Mary Kom who hails from the state of Manipur in India’s neglected and backward North Eastern region has been rightfully getting undivided attention and praise for her personal struggle to achieve an Olympic medal in women’s boxing. 

The beaming Indian sports minister has put his targets at 25 medals for the 2020 Olympics. But to make that dream come true he must envisage both an intensive and extensive promotion of all sports except cricket in India. For a starter he must focus immediately on Indian hockey and begin from scratches. The Indian hockey team lost all its six matches and occupied the last position in rankings. Barring its inability to qualify for the Beijing Olympics Hockey discipline this is the worst ever performance by the Indian Hockey team in Olympic history. There are despairing expressions that it would have been better if the Indian hockey team failed to qualify again. 

The grand spectacle of the London Olympics-2012 came to an end after twelve days of excellence. India must pick this moment to begin introspection.

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