By Chetan Sharma
New Delhi, Aug 16 (IANS) Indian Olympic Association (IOA) vice-president Sudhanshu Mittal on Monday showered praise on Indian athletes, who won medals in Tokyo, saying he had tears of joy in his eyes when he watched javelin star Neeraj Chopra on the podium at the main stadium of the Olympics.
Indian athletes returned from Tokyo with a haul of seven medals, including javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra’s historic gold in track and field. It was the country’s best-ever show at the Olympics.
Speaking to IANS, Mittal said, “There was a time when hockey was the only sport which was ruling the nation. Then came cricket, but now other sports too are gaining popularity. Shooting, wrestling, and boxing also came into the limelight.”
“My eyes got wet when after 125 years, the Indian flag got hoisted high at the main stadium of the Olympics. I felt so proud when Neeraj clinched gold. 1896 was when the Olympics started but to date never it happened that our national anthem was played at the main stadium in the Olympics. We won in hockey; the ceremony was held in a hockey stadium. We won in the shooting; the ceremony took place in the shooting arena. But this was the first time that the main stadium witnessed our success.”
The IOA vice-president further said that in the coming 25 years, India will gather more speed and success in sports. “India now knows the reason why they were failing…sports science. I think the critical difference between excellence and podium is sports science. It plays an important role in athletes’ performance. Players movements, muscle, dietician, psychologist, these are the things which will help athletes in major events. Now that India is aware of all this, I am sure in the next 25 years India will be a huge power in sports,” he said.
“We have no shortage of talent. After 75 years of Independence, India got a record (haul) of seven medals in Tokyo. I believe that it will keep growing in the coming years. The government is supporting in all manner,” he added.