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Poor family buys mobile to talk to hero

After his first gold at the Commonwealth Games, Indian Army soldier Vijay Kumar's family borrowed a mobile phone to speak to the shooting star.
None | By Chander Shekhar Sharma (IANS), Hamirpur (himachal Pradesh)
UPDATED ON MAR 25, 2006 01:31 PM IST

After his first gold at the Commonwealth Games in Australia, Indian Army soldier Vijay Kumar's family borrowed a mobile phone to speak to the shooting star. But when he bagged a second gold, they could hold themselves back no longer.

His younger brother was dispatched from their native village of Harsaur to the nearby town of Kaswa to purchase a mobile phone! Vijay, 21, after all clinched the top honours in the men's individual 25 m rapid fire pistol on Thursday to add to his gold in the pairs event earlier.

The double gold made his entire village erupt into celebrations, as this was the first time any sportsperson from Hamirpur district, in this Himalayan state, had won accolades at the international level.

Although Samaresh Jung of nearby Sirmaur has won six gold medals in shooting at Melbourne, people hold Vijay's performance in higher esteem as he has no sporting background while guns are a part and parcel of the Jung family.

Vijay took to shooting only after joining the army in October 2001, according to his father Banku Ram, a former soldier.

Banku Ram said at his residence that he knew that Vijay would do something exceptional because he had always been "very obedient". He insisted that Vijay's obedience lay at the root of his success.

Celebrations in his village began with the first medal and continued when people came to know of the second gold through the media. People burst into dancing, singing and burst crackers.

Even the women of the village, which is a cradle of recruitment for the Indian Army, were not left behind. They too beat drums and sang religious songs.

Brahmi Devi and Roshni Devi, grandmother and mother of Vijay, had their hands full receiving guests and well-wishers in large numbers, who extended congratulations to them. The medal winner's brothers were also in high spirits, distributing sweets to visitors.

Hamirpur Deputy Commissioner, Rajnish Kumar said the district administration would accord Vijay a grand reception.

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