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  Rio 2016: Moments of glory

Rio 2016: Moments of glory

| DEEPIKA DAS AND PRIYANKA SHARMA
Published : Jul 31, 2016, 6:59 am IST
Updated : Jul 31, 2016, 6:59 am IST

The Olympics have not been a happy hunting ground for India’s athletes — they have won only 26 medals in 116 years of participation. But here are some of their best moments

Leander Paes
 Leander Paes

The Olympics have not been a happy hunting ground for India’s athletes — they have won only 26 medals in 116 years of participation. But here are some of their best moments

Leander Paes: 1996 Atlanta Olympics bronze medallist in the men’s tennis event Winning my singles medal at the Atlanta Olympics was a great feeling as I emulated my guru, mentor and best friend — my father Vece Paes. It showed a generation of Indian athletes that they all can be champions and win individual glory on the world stage. And now going for my seventh Olympics, which is a world record for the highest number of Olympics played by a tennis player, I feel ecstatic and motivated.

 

V. Bhaskaran: 1980 Moscow Olympics gold medallist as a hockey captain The moment I won the gold is still memorable to me — the reason being nobody thought we will reach the final because the team had 15 first-time Olympians. All the boys were 20-21 years old, and very green. But we played as a team. The final was very memorable... we played against Olympic champions Spain who were also reigning European champions. They were very well prepared. We were not very used to playing on astro turf. I was just 10 matches old myself but we were successful as we had a different plan for every team.

We won gold for the first time since 1964. I remember every moment of that match. It was a dream come true. We stood on the podium and sang the national anthem after many years. That was the greatest moment of my life. I had tears in my eyes.

 

Vijender Singh, 2008 Beijing Olympics bronze medallist in middleweight boxing (75kg) When I was on the podium I was only thinking that this bronze medal will change my life forever and will also help in motivating the young generation to take up the sport. Now boxing will also get popular among the masses. I was thanking my family, coach and friends for their motivation, prayers and sacrifice which helped me reach this level. And later, the Olympic medal also motivated me to turn pro. Winning my first professional title (WBO Asia-Pacific super middleweight on July 16) in front of my home crowd was an incredible moment for me. It was just a step forward on my pro journey but I have to cover a long distance for which I will prepare now. Right now I am 7-0 but I want to make it 70-0.

 

Gagan Narang: 2012 London Olympic bronze medallist in shooting (10 m air rifle) It was a feeling of trepidation and anxiety turn into pure joy and relief. Joy because I reached where I had never reached before. Relief because I was able to vindicate the faith many had reposed on me. It was a never before feeling. I missed the silver medal by a whisker and felt a bit sad for that. But I was immensely satisfied on finishing the London campaign on a high. However that’s been four years now. And I look forward to the challenge in Rio.