LONDON: Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Monday hailed the ‘path breaking’ performance of its contingent in London and said it will give tremendous boost to sports in the country.
“Our sportspersons did us proud. We won six medals – two silvers and four bronze – which is the biggest ever medal haul by India in the Olympics,” said IOA acting chief Vijay Kumar Malhotra.
The shooters and wrestlers gave India four medals – two silver and two bronze, while boxing and badminton provided a medal each.
“In the last four Olympic Games (1996 to 2008), we won a total of six medals – one gold, a silver and four bronze but this time our tally equals those four Games haul,” said Malhotra.
“Wrestler Sushil Kumar rewrote history as he became the only individual Indian to win medals in two successive Olympic Games (in Beijing he won bronze and in London in won silver).
“A brave display by Yogeshwar Dutt, which earned him a bronze is praise worthy.
“The performance has been very satisfactory, we missed couple of gold medals by whisker, otherwise our tally and ranking would have been much higher,” he added before leaving for India.
Malhotra said that apart from the medal winners, other sportspersons also gave a good account of themselves.
“Apart from medal winners, other sportspersons also gave heartwarming performances, which argues well for the future of the Indian sports,” said the IOC chief.
Malhotra said this was the first time three Indian athletes finished among top ten in their respective events – Krishna Poonia (7th in discus), Vikas Gowda (8th in discus) and K T Irfan 10th in 20 km walk – and given the tough field it was a great achievement. . Besides Saina Nehwal winning a bronze, P Kashyap’s also did well by becoming the first Indian male to reach the quarterfinals of the Olympic Games and Malhotra said “it was no mean achievement given the challenge he faced”.
Pointing out that India missed out on a couple of medals in boxing, Malhotra said, “The pugilists did very well but only a few of them could not get the decision in their favor.
In women’s section, MC Mary Kom fought well for a well deserved bronze.”
He also said the rowers performance was satisfactory.
“They showed that they can compete with top teams in the world.”
Malhotra, however, admitted that the archery team’s performance left much to be desired.
“I think the young archers got overawed by the aura of Olympics and also some of them fell ill immediately after arriving in London and that affected them.”
He agreed that the hockey team’s performance was also below expectation.
“We need not castigate the players. This is part and parcel of the game. But we need to have a comprehensive future plan for hockey in the country.”
On tennis players, Malhotra said that though they gave their best, they could not make the podium.
Malhotra said that even though India took part in 13 disciplines but in some of the sports like judo, swimming (one each), table tennis and weightlifting (two each) were just token representation.
“Sportspersons in these events got good exposure and I hope they will make full use of that in future,” he said.
Promising to provide all the facilities to the sportspersons, Malhotra said, “We showed the way by distributing all sponsored money to the qualified players and they also responded well by giving good performance and raising the profile of Indian sports in the world arena.” -PTI