It’s over to London now. For once even India can look forward to the 30th Olympic Games with hope. One gold and two bronze medals aren’t bad all. In fact, that’s the best. Beijing has been historic for India.
Chances are, however, that India may go to sleep now and wake up just in time for the London Olympics. “We have just won a bronze, let’s think about winning more medals,” said BI Fernandes, India’s Cuban boxing coach.
“In Cuba there is no pause between Games. It goes on.”
Is that possible in India? Will Abhinav Bindra go right back into his personal shooting range and start preparing for London? Can Sushil Kumar and Jitender Kumar hang up their medals get back into the ring for more?
Both Sushil and Jitender got their medals despite the lack of world-class support. Time to end the whining about infrastructure. Time for everyone to put their heads down and get back to work.
“We can win,” said boxing bronze medallist and flag-bearer at the closing ceremony Vijender Kumar. He added, “At least this will give us hope.” That’s the lesson for him from Beijing.
With a little bit of luck, India could have won a few more medals. Gagan Narang, Akhil Kumar or young Saina Nehwal could have won one each. But then, there are no guarantees in sport.
But they are going back richer in experience. And confidence. And wisdom. “We have to start preparing for the Olympics from tomorrow,” said Narang, a shooter, who failed to make a mark in all his three events. He has learnt, however the best lesson.
Winning is just a matter of time now. And beating the best in the world is no longer a dream. "We believe we can," said Akhil, the flamboyant boxer who got the nation plumbing for the boys from Bhiwani.