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The heroes of Beijing 2008

Sporting situation in India fully modified after the nation’s unparalleled success within the Beijing Olympics. While Abhinav Bindra clinched India’s first particular person gold medal within the Games, Sushil Kumar and Vijender Singh bagged bronze in males’s freestyle wrestling and boxing occasions respectively. It was the primary time within the historical past of Olympics that India received three medals – a historic occasion for your entire nation. 

In an unique interview with WION’s Sports Editor Digvijay Singh Deo, Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar and Vijender Singh recalled the historic 2008 Beijing Games whereas explaining the way it modified their lives and sporting situation within the nation. 

Sushil stays the one Indian sportsperson to have received two Olympic medals. The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna-awardee remembered how his coach taugh him to be humble whereas including that these three medals in Beijing Olympics modified the outlook of Indian sport.

“I consider it an honour to have won medals for India. My coach Satpal taught me to be humble and to focus on my sport. No one believed we could win Olympic medals in 2008 but those 3 medals changed the outlook of Indian sport. Today every young sportsperson wants to win a gold at the Olympics,” Sushil informed WION. 

Whereas Vijender mentioned that each Abhinav Bindra and Sushil deserve Bharat Ratna for what they’ve finished for the nation and added that it might be a motivating side for budding sportspersons if the duo is awarded with India’s highest civilian honour.

“Abhinav bindra and Sushil deserve the Bharat Ratna for the achievements. I do not want to go into the past and which sportsperson deserves it more but it would be very motivating for budding sportspersons if these two are awarded India’s highest civilian honour. They are fully deserving of this respect,” Vijender informed WION.

Sushil Kumar

In an attention-grabbing perception, Sushil revealed how Leander Paes’ bronze medal at 1996 Atlanta Olympics impressed him to turn out to be an Olympic medallist. Whereas for Vijender, it was Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore’s silver at Athens Olympics, which motivated him to be an Olympic medallist.

Our coach all the time informed Yogeshwar Dutt and me that we’ve got to win Olympic medals. But we had no concept what the Olympics meant or what an Olympic medal signified. Leander paes set an instance in 1996 and that modified our full focus as sportspersons. And now a new technology needs to emulate our success after seeing us on the medal podium,” recalled Sushil.

“I was 18-year-old when I qualified for Athens and I had to shave to look mature. I was blown over by the spectacle of the Olympics and had enjoyed myself thoroughly taking in the sights and sounds of the city. I saw how Rathore was celebrated after his medal and that told me that I had to win a medal to make a name. That was when I devoted myself to the target of winning an Olympic medal,” Vijender revealed.

The lifetime of an Olympic medallist adjustments in a single day and the identical occurred to Vijender and Sushil as they returned residence amid a rousing reception and numerous felicitation ceremonies. 

“God has been kind. We both come from families that were not financially well-off and at times i am grateful to god for all that has come our way. The Olympic medal changed our lives and today young wrestlers who come from similar backgrounds look at us and believe that they too can emulate our success,” mentioned Sushil.

“I have led life on my own terms. I won the Olympic medal due to my hard work and talent. I did not owe it to anyone and did what my heart told me,” mentioned an ever-confident Vijender.

When requested how Indian sport modified between the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, Vijender mentioned the part introduced much more limelight to Olympic athletes and Indian sport by no means seemed again after that.

“A lot changed! There was space for Olympic athletes on the back pages that was usually reserved for cricket. The media interest grew and that sparked interest in a new generation of sport persons. Indian sport has not looked back ever since,” mentioned Vijender. 

Vijender Singh

The Rio Olympics witnessed India received simply two medals with three Indians lacking the rostrum narrowly at fourth. When requested whether or not the expansion is part of the legacy of Olympic medallists, Sushil mentioned Olympic sports activities modified in India modified after 2008 and the children blazing into the scene present how the hole has narrowed down fully. 

“Olympic sports has changed in India after 2008. We are contending in sports that earlier we had no history in. Dipa Karmakar’s 4th place finish in gymnastics at Rio was a bolt from the blue but it showed that the gap has narrowed down completely. We have world-class infrastructure now and that produces a new generation of champions,” Sushil concluded.


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