Former long jumper Anju Bobby George said that the country has no chance of winning a medal at the track and field events.
Anju, who won a bronze in the women's long jump in the 2003 World Championships in Paris and is the only Indian medallist in the Worlds, tipped discus throwers Vikas Gowda and Krishna Poonia as outside contenders for a podium finish.
“I don’t want to discourage the athletes but we don’t have any chance. None of the athletes have come close to an Olympic medal winning performance this year,” said Anju.
“Vikas Gowda and Krishna Poonia should reach the final round but they can win a medal only if they perform better than their personal best. Krishna has to throw beyond 65m if she wants a medal and Vikas 70m to get a medal,” said 35-year-old Anju.
AFI boss too rules out gold
Meanwhile, the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) too conceded that a gold medal finish remains next to impossible.
“We will compete in many individual events this time. They (Gowda, Poonia and Gurmeet) all have attained ‘A’ standards, which is a positive sign. It is impossible to win a gold, but we may hope for a medal,” said AFI Secretary General, C K Valson.
He, however, added that AFI would be satisfied if the athletes could finish in top eight in 10 events that they would compete in. “I cannot say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to winning a medal. We are hoping a medal but it depends on how they perform on that day. But realistically, we would be satisfied if most of our athletes come in first 8, that will be a morale-booster,” Valson said.
‘Not surprised to get wildcard’
Tennis player Somdev Devvarman says he was not surprised at getting a singles wild card entry.
“The news that I got a wild card for the Olympics was not a total surprise, I always had a chance. Anyway I am happy that I got it,” Somdev said during an interaction at the Olympic Games Village.
Asked about his shoulder injury that kept him away from the game for nine months, Somdev said: “Yes, I used to feel the shoulder pain but I overlooked it and then it became worse. So I had a surgery in November and now I am fully fit.”
Bhupathi hopes to meet Bolt
Tennis star Mahesh Bhupathi said he never thought of playing in his fifth Olympics and expressed the desire to meet Usain Bolt. “Well to be honest, when I started it never occurred to me that I will figure in the Olympics for the fifth time (in a row). I want to meet Bolt because he represents the best of human endeavourer. He is best runner on the planet at the moment.”