Fight for your country

India is sure to increase its medals tally in Rio. We hope to reach the double-digit figure. My assessment is based on fact. We won six medals in the 2012 London Olympics and only 80 Indian athletes had taken part there.

Indian Olympic Association President, N. Ramachandran, with Salman Khan and Indian athletes at an IOA event.   -  PTI

Technology for training an athlete for Olympics has changed drastically, especially in the last decade. Many changes have occurred for training and participation.

Even qualification to the quadrennial event has become more difficult. Despite that, 119 athletes have qualified, which shows the tremendous improvement India has made in the world of sport.

It is still an honour for an athlete to come back with a medal. Glory at the Olympics is the pinnacle of achievement for an athlete. The camaraderie between the country’s sports administrators and the athletes’ dedication to excel has been unparalleled this time.

There have been a few stray incidents like the doping in wrestling. But the IOA has helped the Wrestling Federation of India to fill the quota place. WFI wanted Praveen Rana in place of Narsingh Yadav and we have facilitated that.

Like I said earlier, in all such cases the IOA has no role. The National Anti Doping Agency will decide on the quantum of punishment. The IOA doesn’t even enter the picture.

But, all I can say is that doping scandals are a tremendous disappointment for us because it is a probable medal lost.

Everywhere else it has been smooth sailing. The kits have come on time, the athletes are not complaining, the Ministry also gave a fantastic send-off and so did the IOA. We are all working towards one common goal — to provide the best facilities and environment for our athletes.

I am also happy with Salman Khan’s appointment as one of our Olympic goodwill ambassadors. I don’t see anything wrong in the move. We all watch his movies. Moreover, he is sports-inclined. There is nothing wrong in thinking out of the box. There’s no rule that says that only a sports personality can be an ambassador for the Games. India is sure to increase its medals tally in Rio. We hope to reach the double-digit figure. My assessment is based on fact. We won six medals in the 2012 London Olympics and only 80 Indian athletes had taken part there.

No Federation can find fault with the Government as they have helped us in many ways. Whatever every National Sports Federation had wanted, in terms of exposure, participation in events abroad, the Ministry has sanctioned everything. It is very difficult to complain. My message to our athletes is to try your very best for the country. Play for the country. We wish you all the best.

As told to K. Keerthivasan