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Cautiously Optimistic: Athletes to stick to basics

india Updated: Nov 09, 2010 00:20 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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The medallists at the Commonwealth Games have been kept busy after the showpiece event.

Preparations for the Asian Games, in Guangzhou (China) from November 12, have been the primary focus for the athletes. On the other hand, there have been dozens of felicitation ceremonies for the winners.

Badminton player Ashwini Ponnappa, who won gold in the women's doubles event, was one of the several medallists honoured by the Ministry of Petroleum in a ceremony here on Tuesday.

Appearing cautiously optimistic about the team's chances in the Asian Games, the 21-year-old said, "We will take each match as it comes. The first one is going to be vital. We will focus on gold, though the competition will be tougher with China there as well."

The team event will get underway on November 13 while individual matches are slotted from November 17.

Saina Nehwal, the country's best bet to win a medal, also felt it would be tougher in the presence of Chinese and Indonesian shuttlers.

"We have to stay away from pressure and focus on the opponents. We need to ensure that we stick to the basics of the game," she said.

Rahul Banerjee, who won gold in the individual men's recurve event during the Games, said the archers would be aiming to put in a good performance in China.

"The team is raring to go. But the Asian Games will be very different from the Commonwealth, which was in front of our home crowd," he said.

Archers Dola Banerjee and Deepika Kumari, boxers Suranjoy Singh, Manoj Kumar, Paramjit Samota, Jai Bhagwan, shooters Omkar Singh and Ronjan Sodhi, among others were some of the bigger names present at the ceremony.

The winners were presented with a memento and a cheque, with R10 lakh for the gold medal winners, R7.5 lakh for the silver medaliists and R5 lakh for those who won the bronze medal at the Games.