'Hard luck,' says sports minister Goel

‘’It is not about winning medals only. We have given the best support for the athletes. They are fighting at their best. Bindra could have gone on to win a silver or better. In archery, we could have beaten Russia,’’ the Union Sports Minister, Vijay Goel, remarked.

Vijay Goel... very philosophical about India's performance thus far.   -  PTI

After spending hundreds of crores of rupees on the preparation of the 100-odd athletes for the Olympics, the elusive medals may have caused a lot of anguish and anxiety, especially for the authorities who have accompanied the Indian contingent to the Olympics.

However, the recently inducted Union Sports Minister, Vijay Goel, was quite understanding and appreciated the efforts of the athletes, rather than complain about not winning medals.

In an informal interaction with the Indian media at the Olympic Village on Monday evening, the Sports Minister was particularly appreciative of the efforts of Abhinav Bindra and the women’s archery team.

While the former World and Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra was on track to get the second Olympic gold of his career, before losing the shoot-off and getting eliminated to the fourth place, Deepika Kumari’s arrow narrowly missed the 10 that would have got India past World Champion Russia in the quarterfinals of women’s archery.

‘’It is not bad luck. It is hard luck’’, corrected the Minister, as he stressed the fine difference, but the heartbreak in the Indian ranks was palpable.

‘’It is not about winning medals only. We have given the best support for the athletes. They are fighting at their best. Bindra could have gone on to win a silver or better. In archery, we could have beaten Russia’’, the Minister remarked.

Enquiring about how they were going about their jobs from the 50-odd journalists, and accepting that it was a challenge to go to the various far flung venues, the Minister appreciated the efforts of the volunteers in making the Olympics enjoyable. Otherwise, communication is virtually impossible as the local people do not understand English.

Even though there was no heated debate on Indian sports or about the inability to strike a medal three days into the competition by some of the very best athletes representing the country, the Indian style samosa and pudhina chutney compensated for the lack of spice in the proceedings!