Sports ministry eyeing 10 medals at London Olympics

By Bharat Sharma, IANS
Monday, December 6, 2010

NEW DELHI - Encouraged by India’s best-ever medal haul in the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games, the sports ministry is ready with an ambitious blueprint for the 2012 London Olympics and has identified 15 athletes capable of winning an unprecedented 10 medals.

“The disciplines that can fetch medals are boxing (two), athletics (two), shooting (two) and archery (two),” Injeti Srinivas, joint secretary in the sports ministry, told IANS.

He also felt that badminton star Saina Nehwal could win a medal and so can the tennis doubles teams. Sushil Kumar (wrestling) was also named as another medal probability.

Beijing Olympic bronze medallists Vijender Singh (boxing) was one of the top ten among medal hopes, he said.

“Winning 10 medals in London is a realistic assessment going by the results in the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, though we still maintain that it will take some doing.”

“We feel we can win medals in some of the disciplines as the athletes are among the top five in the world,” Srinivas said.

“Look at archery, we won two medals in the Asian Games where world’s top teams South Korea and Chinese Taipei participated. There is no reason why we cannot repeat the performance at the Olympics,” he added.

India won three medals at the Beijing Olympics with Abhinav Bindra becoming the first Indian individual gold medallist.

India’s 101 medals, including 38 gold, at the New Delhi Commonwealth Games were their best-ever tally and the 64 medals, 14 of which gold, was a record for it at the Asian Games.

The success was attributed to a whopping Rs.678-crore allocation by the Prime Minister in 2008 for training and competition of the athletes.

The official, however, said the shooters and wrestler could have easily added a few more medals if they had performed to their potential.

“We could have certainly done better,” said the official.

“We are a bit disappointed with the performance of shooters and wrestlers. A clutch of medals in these two discipline would have taken us into the top-five in the medals tally,” Srinivas said.

Asked whether the athletes would continue to get government backing till the London Olympics, Srinivas said: “We are pushing for the kind of budget the athletes got for the Commonwealth and Asian Games. We will submit our proposal next month and the Planning Commission will have to take the call.”

He quoted Sports Minister M.S. Gill’s promise to continue the government support till the Olympics.

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