'Unprecedented' three medals makes it best ever Olympic for India

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Beijing, Aug 23 (UNI) Shooter Abhinav Bindra's gold and the heroics of boxer Vijender and wrestler Sushil Kumar who earned a bronze each, has made the 29th Olympic Games the best ever for India, though in other disciplines sportspersons came up cropper.

Prior to this Olympiad, India had won only four individual medals - one silver and three bronze - but things have changed slightly here and the three medals have pushed India among the first 50 nations on the leader board.

Last time at Athens, India with one silver had finished 66th.

Before these games India had won 8 golds in a team event - hockey, four individual medals, one bronze each through wrestler K D Jadhav, tennis ace Leander Paes and lifter Karnam Malleshwari, and the silver in the Athens where double trap shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore finished second.

This time India had sent 56-sportspersons representing 12-disiplines - Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Boxing, Rowing, Shooting, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis, Judo, wrestling and Yachting to the Games.

It was Abhinav Bindra who gave the country's campaign a grand start by becoming the first Indian to win an individual gold medal in the 10m Air Rifle three days into the game.

At the fag end of the games, wrestler Sushil Kumar surprised everybody by winning a bronze in 66 kg Free Style, thus repeating this after 56 years because it was in 1952 that Independent India won its first individual bronze medal through another wrestler K D Jadhav.

And then Vijender became the first Indian boxer to claim a bronze in the 75kg category. If one does not get carried away by the hype being created over these three medals, it can be said Indian performance left much to be desired.

Apart from three medal winners- Shooter Gagan Narang boxers- Akhil Kumar, Jitender Kumar and Badminton star Saina Nehwal eminently justified their inclusion in the 56-member squad.

Akhil and Jitender raised the bar for other sportspersons as they along with Vijender they created a sort of record by becoming first three Indian boxers to make it to the quarter final.

Akhil was unlucky to have lost in the last eight bout but not before eliminating a world champion Sergey Vodopyanov of Russia in the second round.

The boxers thus proved that given proper training and facilities, they can face any challenge at any level of this sport.

Apart from Abhinav Bindra, it was shooter Gagan Narang who hogged the lime light. The Hyderabadi shooter was unlucky to have missed the final of 10m Air rifle final by a whisker.

Another Hyderabad player Saina Nehwal also deserves kudos. The brave heart shuttler kept the Indian flag high till the quarter finals before going down to Indonesia's Maria Kristina Yulianti.

But rest of the squad disappointed.

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