The Sports Ministry has set an ambitious target of 10 medals for India at the 2012 London Olympics. The push for more comes after heartening performances by India at the New Delhi Commonwealth Games followed by the Guangzhou Asian Games.
India pocketed three medals at the 2008 Beijing Games - one gold medal and two bronze medals - which was a breakthrough after winning just one medal apiece in the previous three Olympics.
The plan is called Project 2012. Although the medal projection is based more on calculations and statistics, Injeti Srinivas, joint secretary in the Sports Ministry feels it is not beyond reach. "The target of ten medals is not too over ambitious. It's within the reach of the Indian players. All we need is to carry good work of Delhi and Guangzhou competitions forward," he told the Hindustan Times.
Under the plan, as many as 28 National Sports Federations whose disciplines feature in the London games have been directed to shortlist medal prospects, and furnish details to the ministry by January 31. The focus is on individual medal prospects. The selected pool of 30 players will be provided the best of training facilities, says Srinivas.
The ministry also wants to spot medal prospects from nine other disciplines which are not in its priority list. It has also been encouraged by the unexpected Asian Games medals in swimming and gymnastics through Virdhawal Khade and Ashish Kumar respectively. "Our main focus for the London games are individual events. However, hockey will be an exception," says Srinivas. India achieving their best-ever medal tally at both Delhi and Guangzhou has reinforced the feeling in the sports ministry that time has come to broadbase beyond hockey and shooting. The ministry believes Olympic medals are within reach in archery, boxing, shooting, wrestling and athletics.