India wraps up with record medal haul

Sushil Kumars epic silver on last day marks best-ever Olympic campaign

Two silvers and four bronze — our best ever tally. The only thing missing from India’s collection at London 2012 was the glimmer of a gold medal. 

Silver medalist Sushil Kumar of India during the medals ceremony for men's 66-kg freestyle wrestling at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London on Sunday. PTI Photo

As the final medals were handed out at the Games of the 30th Olympiad, India occupied the 55th spot on the table with six medals, the last of them coming on the final day.

Wrestler Sushil Kumar, bronze medal winner in Beijing 2008, picked up the silver in the men’s 66kg wrestling event, after a gritty fight through the ranks. Sushil also created a piece of history for himself, becoming the only man to win two individual medals for India at the Games.

Sushil, who lost to Japan’s Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu in the final, was the only Indian medal winner from Beijing to finish on the podium in London, with shooting gold medallist Abhinav Bindra and boxing bronze-winner Vijender Singh falling before the medal rounds.Bindra’s gold embellished the Indian tally of three in Beijing and having fielded an 84-member team in London, India had high hopes of a strong showing here, with at least one gold as a possibility.

But setbacks in archery and boxing hit the team hard. Deepika Kumari and company couldn’t shoot to potential while boxers fought hard before bowing to superior rivals. Woman boxer Mary Kom’s bronze was the saving grace of the pugilists while Saina Nehwal’s bronze was just the expected result in badminton.

Shooters raised their Beijing tally by one, with Vijay Kumar and Gagan Narang nailing silver and bronze respectively. Their consistent displays on the international stage had raised the expectations of the nation, with target gold not an impossibility, especially from the likes of Ronjan Sodhi in double trap. A champion performer, the failure to be among the medals will hurt Sodhi, just as it would hurt many other fancied sportspersons who lined up under the Tricolour.

On the success front, India has six reasons to celebrate, but looking back, the country also has many more reasons to reflect on chances that slipped by.

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