Its curtains call at the London Olympics but the celebrations have just kicked off in India. The nation is gripped in euphoria at the largest Olympic haul, surpassing the previous one gold and two bronze won at Beijing, four years ago. The superlative performance put up by the sensational six had accrued the tally of medals to six, the highest ever for India at the Olympics.
Gagan Narang, Vijay Kumar, Saina Nehwal, Mary Kom, Yogeshwar Dutt, Sushil Kumar. These names will be etched in the annals of Indian Sports, winning laurels for the country. Their performance at the London Olympics has yielded bountiful results for a success-starved country. Climbing 10 rungs higher since the last Olympics at Beijing, India stood at 55 on the medals table.
Gagan Narang set the ball rolling on the 2nd day of the events itself. Winning a Bronze medal in the men’s 10-meter air rifle, Narang fired the imagination for the rest, to go for the kill. The former world record holder and world champion claimed the bronze in the final shot, ahead of his Chinese competitor. A medal was expected from this former world record holder and world champion, Narang did deliver. In the final, he shot 103.1 just ahead of his Chinese competitor to win the bronze.
Vijay Kumar took everyone by surprise, an unexpected bolt out of the blue. An unfamiliar name, until he literally shot to fame, with the 25m Rapid Fire Pistol event. The sought after silver medal propelled the ace shooter into the limelight. This subedar from the Indian Army, brought home the most sought after white metal, thus becoming the toast of the nation.Vijay shot an incredible 32/40 ahead of Feng Ding from China and created history for India.
Saina Nehwal etched her name in history as she became the first Indian shuttler to reach the semifinals at the Olympics. Her win made Saina the second Indian woman at the Olympic podium after Karnam Malleswari won a bronze in the 2000 Sydney Games.
Pugilist MC Mary Kom scripted history by becoming the country`s first woman boxer to win a bronze medal at the Olympics in the 51kg event. The 29-year-old mother of twins got the nation goggling about Boxing. The pint-sized boxer triggered a renewed interest in the sport. Mary Kom surfaced as a role model for women with her multi-tasking abilities balancing both family and passion for the game.
The wrestling arena was conquered by Yogeshwar Dutt, who won a bronze in the 60kg category.The medal clinching bouts lasted a good 45 minutes. Dutt defeated Masoud Esmaeilpoorjouybari of Iran 3-1 in the second repechage round and walked away with the bronze medal. The success-starved country embraced the badly bruised, swollen eyed Dutt’s pictures, which turned into wallpapers and profile pictures across desktops, laptops, mobiles and social networking sites.
Wrestler Sushil Kumar added that much craved cherry to the cake by bagging a silver medal in the men’s 66kg freestyle. On the personal front, Sushil Kumar has earned himself the rare distinction of becoming the first Indian to win back-to-back individual Olympic medals. The 29-Year old pathbreaker had earlier won a bronze at the 2008, Beijing Olympics.The three bouts, prior to the final against Japan’s Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu, proved too much to handle, with dehydration between his fights. Despite his ill-health, the wrestler put up a fight to end India’s innings at the Olympics on a winning note.