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Yogeshwar Dutt winning the bronze medal with a swollen eye shows determination and courage of the man.

6 medals does not seem to be a big number but when you consider that this is India’s highest tally so far in the Olympics it is a fantastic achievement. The medal winners have done the country proud and there were surely some highs for Indian in London Olympics.

Shooting:

Shooting was India’s biggest medal contributor along with wrestling in this Olympics. Gagan Narang got the ball rolling for India when he won the men’s 10 meter air-rifle bronze. His performance for sure was inspiring and probably led the path for others to aspire for a medal too in the competition. Vijay Kumar though went one step higher when he clinched the silver medal in the 25 meter rapid fire pistol. The biggest disappointment though was Abhinav Bindra who was India’s gold winner in 2008 Beijing Olympics. He lost in the qualifying round and finished 16th overall. A huge disappointment considering that he was India’s medal hope this Olympics too.

Boxing:

Boxing along with Tennis was considered India’s best chance of gold in 2012 Olympics. Vijender Singh was India’s biggest medal hope as he won the Bronze medal in 2008 Beijing Olympics. This year also marked the debut of Women’s boxing in Olympics and India had 5 time world champion Mary Kom participating in the 51 Kg category. Mary Kom though did not disappoint as she fought tenaciously to become India’s only medal winner in Boxing. She lost her semi-final bout but had done enough to claim the Bronze medal.

Most of the Indian boxers reached the quarter-finals but could not progress to the semis which would have assured them of a medal.

Badminton:

World number 4 Saina Nehwal carried the hopes of the entire nation in Badminton. She was expected to win a medal in the event and she did not disappoint. Saina lost in the Semis but went on to win the Bronze medal when China’s Xing Wang retired after injury in the Bronze medal game. People might call this lucky as Saina was trailing 1 game to none but the Indian ace deserved this medal as she played brilliantly throughout the event.

In the men’s singles Parupalli Kashyap played brilliantly to reach the quarters but failed to reach the medal round. He for sure punched above his weight in the Olympics and I hope that this performance will inspire him to achieve greater heights in the future.

Wrestling:

Again yet another sport in which India was expected to win few medals. Sushil Kumar who won the Bronze in 2008 Beijing Olympics was once again India’s biggest medal hope in 2012. He did not disappoint though as he ended India’s Olympics on a high when he won the silver in the frees-style event. He fought bad health in the finals to give it all but could not get gold.

Yogeshwar Dutt too performed brilliantly to win the Bronze. He too battled injury to win the medal. His was one of the most inspiring performances for India in the 2012 Olympics for India. He battled a severely swollen eye to win the bronze medal match and for sure emphasized the hard work and determination.

Tennis:

Tennis was an event where India was supposed to win a medal for sure. Considering that we had the legends Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi in the mix. It was disappointing that we did not even reach the semis in any of the events. The event did not start on the right note when the legends ended up fighting on their differences and to be frank it was ironical that India failed to win a medal in this event. India needs to somehow unearth some good tennis players to replace Leander and Mahesh or we might just lose the great legacy these two have built in the doubles arena.

Overall this event was a grand success for India. 6 medals are twice as many we got in 2008 Olympics. Even though we did not win a gold medal this was a commendable performance. I just hope that this inspires more people to take up to athletics and sports in general in the future. The government needs to support these athletes too. It is very difficult to expect people to take up sports which might not even pay their livelihood. People keep saying that Indians have a population of 1 billion and we can’t even get a single gold. Even though it sounds bad it is not the entire story.The answer lies in the way we treat our athletes. There was news in the media as to how substandard the facilities were for these athletes when they were preparing for this event.

The government needs to make sure that people who are in athletics don’t give up the sports just because it becomes difficult for them to survive participating in it. Until there is a change let us just enjoy this success which was achieved amidst adversity and lack of support. Sponsors need to step in and support these athletes and make sure they get the best facilities to prepare and be in great condition when they represent the country at the highest level.

Recently the AITA (All India Tennis Association) announced the Indian Tennis teams for the upcoming London Olympics 2012. The overall announcement turned into a farce which ended up in the association having to redo the combinations. Tennis is one of the few sports where India has a strong chance of obtaining a medal in the Olympics. The strong Indian contingent comprises of fantastic doubles players such as Leander, Mahesh, Sania and Rohan Bopanna.

Everyone knows that Leander and Mahesh split once again for the 100th time last year and do not like to play with each other. It was pretty strange when AITA paired Leander with Mahesh for the London Olympics. But when the announcement came in there was a series of ugly spats in the media. Mahesh came in and refused to play with Leander and threatened to pull out. Leander for his part did the same thing. Rohan Bopanna too refused to partner Leander as he has had a successful time partnering Mahesh in the grand-slams this year.

This was really sad when you consider that this was an Indian team which has been announced. Tennis as a sport is mostly individual except for certain events such as Olympics, Davis Cup etc…So it does not require the players to get along with each other like how it is with other team sports. The players and the AITA are both at fault here. AITA should have known about the situation and probably should have discussed the situation before announcing it to the media. The players too even though being unhappy should have spoken with the AITA first before expressing their displeasure openly to the media. It was ugly when Sania Mirza and Leander’s father too got involved in this circus.

I can’t believe that a person who is not even a member of AITA or has never played any tennis can come in public and request for a written assurance from a tennis player to partner his son. I feel sorry for the young Vishnu Vardhan who got stuck in this crossfire. He would have been honored to represent India at the highest stage and to be paired with a Legend in the Olympics only to find that Leander refused to partner with him unless Sania partnered with him for mixed doubles.

This seemed like a round of ugly politics and players egos coming to the fore. Leander and Mahesh are legends of Indian tennis but it seems like their egos are bigger than their achievements. We thank them for all the great things they have done for the Indian tennis but this situation could have been handled better. Threatening to pull out of a premier event for any reason when your country’s pride is at stake is an extremely selfish act. I understand that the mistake was from both the sides but a discussion behind the scenes would have been a much better option.

The young players look up to these legends for inspiration and this is not something they would like to see. I am just happy that the issue has been finally resolved and it seems like the players are happy with whom they have been paired with. Leander has finally agreed to pair with Vishnu and Mahesh with Bopanna. Sania Mirza will be paired with Leander and she said that she is honored to do so. Somdev and Sania will be playing singles after getting wild cards to represent India in the Olympics. After all this tamasha, it does look like India has some decent chance of multiple medals this year. I hope that the players put behind their differences and perform to the fullest in the event to bring glory to the country.

Nadal poses with John McEnroe after winning his record 7th French Open title.

Rafael Nadal continued his dominance on clay with a record 7th French Open title. He beat world number 1 Novak Djokovic in a tough four setter 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 to claim the title. The win also makes Nadal the most crowned man in the open era history at French Open. Like most of the grand slams over the past few years, this year too we saw the top three making it to the semis. Djokivic dismissed Federer in the semis to set up a mouthwatering encounter with the defending champion in the finals. The final was a brilliant spectacle with some blazing tennis from both the players but in the end the consistency of Nadal proved too much for the world number 1.

Sharapova claims the women’s title

Sharapova becomes the French Open champion thereby completing her career slam

Sharapova beat Sara Errani 6-3, 6-2 in a one-sided final to claim the French Open crown. This was a sweet victory for Sharapova who in the process also regained her top spot in the rankings. This was a great comeback from the champion who went through a major surgery in 2008 in a bid to save her career. Maria joined the elite list of women’s tennis with this win as she completed her career slam.

Mahesh and Sania win the Mixed doubles crown
Mahesh Bhupati and Sania Mirza won the mixed doubles crown beating Klaudia Jans-Ignacik and Santiago Gonzalez 7-6 (7-3), 6-1 in the finals. The pair won their second title together, with their previous win being in the 2009 Australian Open.

The Indian challenge in the French Open singles was kept alive by Sania Mirza who recorded an impressive win over Kristina Barrois in the first round. Sania who is ranked 72 in the world played a brilliant match against 57th ranked Kristina win the game in straight sets 6-3, 6-3. It was a great win for Sania and I hope that this inspires her to keep going in the tournament. Sania will be playing her doubles match later today where she is paired with Elena Vesnina from Russia and the pair is seeded 7th in the tournament.

Somdev though wasn’t that fortunate as he crashed out of French Open singles earlier today when he lost to world No 37 Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia. Somdev who is ranked 66 in the world found Ljubicic extremely tough to handle and lost in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3 and 6-4. The men’s doubles round are yet to begin where Leander and Mahesh will try to win their first Grand Slam after their reunion last year. I wish them best of luck and hopefully we will have couple of titles this year at the French Open.


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