There is a huge gap between winning an Olympic medal and finishing fourth. But at the same time for a country like India, which till date has just nine individual Olympic medallists including the two so far from London, finishing fourth in itself is a big achievement.
The fact that Milkha Singh (1960) and PT Usha (1984), who missed Olympic medals by a whisker, are household legends and motivated generations to put in that extra bit on the field gets things into perspective.
Shooter Joydeep Karmakar on Friday added himself to that list of those who missed it by just a step. He gave India a rousing start by first making it to the finals of the 50m prone rifle event and then jumping from seventh position to fourth in the finals. Though the medal was missed by just 1.9 points, he set the day perfectly for pistol shooter Vijay Kumar to give India a second medal in London.
In the qualifying stage, Karmakar was tied at 595 and had to go for a shoot out before booking a place in the finals. He had his life's best ever finals at the international arena (104.1), but that was only good to place him fourth. His earlier best at the international level was 103.6.
"In the fourth detail of the qualifying stage I had a very disappointing show and had almost lost hope. But then in the last two details (fifth and sixth) I shot perfect scores (100 out of 100) and got a chance to move ahead. Earlier in the finals, the medal was not in my mind and even after missing it I was cool. I consider myself lucky that at least I finished fourth. I could have been 20th or even at the bottom," said Karmakar.
"After my finals, I went out and didn't attend the medal ceremony. But when I attended Vijay's medal ceremony then I realised what I missed. It was a golden opportunity for me, but somehow despite giving of my best, I failed to make the country proud," he added.
Karmakar, was given the Olympics quota in place of Hari Om, who actually won it. But considering the current form, he was included in the Olympic squad. "For me performing at the Olympics was proving a point. If I had performed badly then my inclusion in the team would have been questioned. So for me, it was proving to myself and worked hard for it," said Karmakar. "Hope to make up the loss in the next Olympics."