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India’s Olympickings

india Updated: Aug 03, 2008 22:26 IST

Suresh Kalmadi is such a sweet bloke. He had me in tears with his ‘We go there with hopes’ speech on Thursday at that do to honour our Beijing Olympic contingent. It was quite stirring.

Ah yes, the Indian Olympic Association President had me in tears too, especially when I compared his fond words with those he had made in 2004 before seeing off our athletes to the Athens Olympics: “A few [medals] are on the cards.”

Well, the one silver medal from shooter
Rajyavardhan S. Rathore in 2004 did add to the few already in the Indian Olympic kitty.
I think the number that you’re looking for is 17 medals.

Um, 17 medals since the start of the modern Olympic Games? But what about all those gold medals from hockey?
Er, that includes the eight gold, one silver and two bronze medals in hockey. The others in the kitty are two silvers in athletics from 1900 — incidentally claimed by both Britain and India — one wrestling bronze from 1952, one tennis bronze from 1996, one weighlifting bronze from 2000, and one shooting silver from 2004.

Hey, it could have been worse.
Well, it depends. Larissa Latynina, between 1956 and 1964 won 18 medals — nine of them gold — by herself for the Soviet Union. So....

Oh, you’re so full of negativity. Can’t you see that the 55 athletes going to Beijing need all the encouragement they can get! It’s whiners like you who have made Indian sports reach this stage.
That’s true. Without people like me, we would have had a medal-winning chance in the Modern Pentathlon at Beijing.

You mean there’s an Indian athlete participating in the Modern Pentathlon?
No, silly.

So who are our athletes we should look out for?
I’d put my funny money on Gagan Narang and Abhinav Bindra in the shooting events.

Surely, we’ll get a medal in hockey?
Oh dear, nobody told you. We haven’t qualified in hockey for the Olympics this year.

Don’t say: If we had boycotted the Beijing Olympics, we wouldn’t have to be so scared.
Do say: Virender Sehwag is back with a bang!