Aptly put by a journalist, I truly feel like an Alchemist turning silver into gold and now hopefully more then 1 gold (with Vijender, our boxer in the semi finals). I have off course been with the shooters and seen the resolve of Abhinav, Gagan (watch out for him) and others but as i see some of the Indian Team members, I see so much of myself before I won the Silver. I Can see the fire burning in their belly. I feel proud as a person who provided the spark to the explosive potential that I have always believed and expressed that all Indians possess.
When i won, there was cynicism not only outside but within India on an Indian winning at the Olympic level. Only I know how I overcame the hurdles that were put in front of me at each and every stage and I had nothing to fall back on. Contrary to what people believe, way back in year 2000, I had already accepted an adverse career in the armed forces so as to pursue with my belief that India will win Olympic Medals and I wanted to prove that myself. Now when I see the TV channels, the Magazines and see the press writing so hopefully and positively about the new Indian attitude, I have 2 kinds of feelings, one, that wow, this is my India and two, this is what I always believed when few others did.
Prior to Athens, there was not a single corporate backing the Olympic sports and post Athens Olympics 2004 there are Hero Honda, Sahara, Mittal Steel, the Mission Gold through Geet sethi and Prakash Padukone. They all needed a belief and India's Silver at Athens gave it to them. I am sure the involvement of corporates will only increase now. I dream of a fund that allows us to nurture select talent amongst juniors/promising youngsters, a fund that allows us to provide contemporary training facilities to our medal hopes, to have access to best medicinal/nutritional supplementation. We cannot really depend on the government which has other basic and primary issues to fulfill. I dream of Indian corporates ready to pitch in their might into a single fund managed by sportsmen and sports administrators to give hope to the young India, their help will provide mortar to build a new India, a bold India. And the new confident attitude will be visible in all walks of life. At the end its India that will stand tall.
I believe this will come true.