India celebrates Kumar's silver medal at London
By C.Rajshekhar Rao | AP - NEW DELHI
13th August 2012 01:50 PM
Star cricketer Sachin Tendulkar was among those celebrating Sushil Kumar's wrestling silver medal at London that helped India to its biggest ever Olympic haul of six medals at one games.
The country of 1.2 billion people failed to win a gold medal, but finished with two silver and four bronze. Pistol shooter Vijay Kumar won the other silver while women's badminton player Saina Nehwal, wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt, rifle shooter Gagan Narang and female boxer M.C. Mary Kom won bronze medals.
At the Beijing Olympics four years ago, India had won its first ever individual gold through rifle shooter Abhinav Bindra, as well as bronze through Kumar and boxer Vijender Singh in what was its biggest haul till then.
"Sushil has done us proud by winning India its second silver medal," Tendulkar tweeted. "We're proud of his dedication, commitment and effort. Well done Sushil!"
Flamboyant India opener Virender Sehwag, who hails from Kumar's Najafgarh area of New Delhi, joined in the praise.
"Sushil showed the size of his heart today and the mental strength of a world champion," Sehwag wrote on his twitter site. "Najafgarh ka sher (Lion of Najafgarh). Extremely proud of you bhai (brother)."
All major television channels, newspapers and websites showed pictures of Kumar's supporters at his village in Najafgarh dancing and distributing sweets to celebrate the medal.
Newspapers carried large photographs of Kumar during his bouts in London on their front page as well as the sports pages.
"Sushil steers India into a silvery sunset" read a banner headline on the front page of The Hindu newspaper, while a similar headline in The Indian Express went with "Sushil Kumar adds silver lining to India's best Olympics show".
"Sushil wins silver, helps India double record (Olympic) tally to 6" read a headline in The Times of India which carried a box item "India's greatest Olympian?" with highlights of the career of the 29-year-old, who became the first Indian to win individual medals at two Olympics.
"We're all very proud of Sushil Kumar because he has now won medals at successive Olympics," Nehwal told the Times Now news channel. "He has helped India finish with six medals and it is a very big day for all of us."
Narang, who opened India's medal account at London, said Sushil has "inspired a new generation of wrestlers. This time he has gone one step ahead and created history."
Kumar's father Diwan Singh, however, lamented what he thought was a chance to win gold.
"He did not have a training partner, otherwise things might have been different," he told reporters. "There is no partnership in India. That is why we lag behind."
Meanwhile, big cash awards were announced for Kumar.
The Haryana state government announced a prize of 15 million rupees ($272,000), the New Delhi government announced 10 million rupees ($180,000) and the Indian Railways 7.5 million rupees ($136,000).
The Haryana government said it would also allot a plot of land for Kumar to develop a wrestling academy.
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