The 2012 Summer Olympics in London will be host to more than 10,000 athletes from 200 plus countries. India is taking 81 athletes, its largest ever contingent to the Olympics in the hope of more medals and wins. In wishing team India good luck, we take a look at how India’s lead up to the 2012 games has been over the years.
2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China
2008 Summer Olympics has possibly been India’s most successful ever Olympics campaign. Abhinav Bindra won India its first ever individual Olympic gold medal in the 10 m Air Rifle Event. In 2009, Bindra was honoured with the country’s third highest civilian award, Padma Bhushan. Wrestler Shushil Kumar defeated Kazakhstan’s Leonid Spiridonov and mighty boxed Vijender Singh Ecuador’s Carlos Góngora, both winning bronze medals for their achievements. Both athletes were awarded with Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, India’s highest honour for achievements in sports.
Abhinav Bindra’s Gold Medal at Beijing Olympics
Sushil Kumar’s Bronze Medal at Beijing Olympics
Vijender Singh’s Bronze Medal at Beijing Olympics
We could not fid video of his Bronze medal performance, but here is the Gold Medal performance at Commonwealth Games.
2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece
Ace shooter and NDA Pune Alumni Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore made India proud by winning the country its first post independence individual silver medal. He competed in the Men’s Double Trap Event and brought home a silver medal. Subsequently, Rathore was conferred with Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and Arjuna Award, latter being given for outstanding achievement in sports. Post independence, India saw a silver medal only once in 1960 when the Indian Hockey team won it in Rome.
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore’s Silver at Athens Olympics 2004
2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia
"I tell myself that every individual has a duty to their country. I did what I could for my country as an Indian" is what Karnam Malleswari said in an interview with TIME magazine in 2000. And she had every right to utter those words. Malleswari was India’s first and till date, only woman to win an Olympic medal so far. In the 2000 Sydney Olympics, weightlifter Malleswari won a bronze medal in the Women’s 69 kg category. She lifted a total of 240 kg, 110 kg in the Snatch and 130 kg in the Clean and Jerk.
1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, USA
In the news for all the wrong reasons at the moment, India’s tennis star Leander Paes won India’s first and only Olympics medal in Tennis.
Paes defeated Brazilian player Fernando Meligeni to win the bronze medal. By doing so, he ended India’s 44 year drought in individual medals after Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav won the bronze for wrestling in 1952, Helsinki. Since then, Paes’ name has almost been synonymous with tennis in India.
India at Olympics: Post Independence to 1980
Post independence, India has won 5 gold medals, 1 silver and 3 bronze medals at the Olympics out of which all but 1 bronze have been for Hockey besides K D Jadhav’s bronze win in 1952.
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After heartbreaking and painful 4th place finishes by P T Usha in 1954 and Milkha Singh in 1960, India’s medal count at the Olympics has picked up steam only in the last decade or so after Paes brought home the bronze in 1996. And that has been possible because of the likes of Karnam Malleswari, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Abhinav Bindra, Sushil Kumar and Vijender.
One can’t help but asking the question, why has a country of more than a billion people won only 20 medals at the summer games? In comparison, China has won 385 medals despite the fact that it competed in the Summer Olympics for the first time in 1952. This question has possibly been asked hundreds of times before and critics have slammed the presence of sports, while optimists have been hoping for light at the end of the tunnel.
India at 2012 Summer Olympics in London
So who all are going to be representing the land of billions this time at London 2012? Of the names we have mentioned already and other popular sporting figures in the country, we will be seeing Saina Nehwal, Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa in badminton. Vijender Singh is a medal hopeful in middleweight boxing. There are also high hopes from the Indian hockey team led by captain Bharat Chettri, looking to end a 32 year drought after gold in 1980. Abhinav Bindra will be competing in the 10 m rifle event, in which he won gold in 2008, Beijing.
Amidst much controversy, Mahesh Bhupathi will be pairing up with Rohan Bopanna for men’s doubles tennis while Leander Paes will be partnering with Vishnu Vardhan. Sania Mirza will be playing women’s doubles with Rushmi Chakravarthi and mixed doubles with Paes. India’s Olympic champ Sushil Kumar will hope for a second medal win in wrestling.
At Trak.in, we look forward to Indian athletes shining and winning at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. We hope that the prayers of a billion people stay with the Indian athletes and help them bring back medals, pride and glory. Here’s wishing team India the best of luck at London 2012.
[Source: International Olympic Committee via wikipedia]
London 2012 Medals Poll
We want to know from our readers – What do you think, how many Gold Medals will India win in London Olympics 2012.