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No excuse for failing at Olympics: Amritraj
August 01, 2008 14:18 IST
With talent, opportunity and sponsors at their disposal, there is "absolutely no excuse" for Indians not to perform well in the Beijing [Images] Olympics [Images], says legendary tennis player Vijay Amritraj.
"We have the opportunity, we have the talent and certainly now we have the corporate sponsorship. At the moment there is absolutely no excuse for the athletes in our country and I am not talking specifically only about Beijing," the former Davis Cup captain told PTI.
"Among the 57 athletes, I think our best chances (in Beijing) are in shooting and archery but it is important that we perform well as underdogs.
"If expectations are high for favourites it does not necessary happen in 10 seconds in 100 meter dash. Favourites fall along the wayside in all disciplines in Olympics, Asian and Commonwealth games [Images]," he added.
The US-based former tennis pro felt Indian athletes lacked the killer instinct and that is why they return empty handed from Olympics.
"Our Indian athletes faithfully adhere to the Olympic spirit and believe participation is more important but the athletes in Western Countries and the US believe in winning medals by competing in it.
"India was competing in many events where we may not have chance of winning medals in the Beijing Games. We should be concentrating on games that we are good at.
"We do not have to participate in everything that is not our ball game. We have the abilities to win medals and we just need to harness it to win those medals. We always want our men or women athlete to do well every time they go out."
Amritraj advocated picking a sport and training the athletes in a professional manner and providing them with opportunities to excel at the global levels to shed the tag of the underdogs.
"If we remain as underdogs and never attain the status of favourites, we will continue to give a long shot and remain underdogs.
"Olympics come once in four years and it is critical that we prepare for two Olympics out. For example, if we are not ready for London [Images] 2012 now, it is too late. We should be talking about 2016.
"There are some chances that we take and come through but we have to be always preparing for two Olympics out like countries like China, America, Western countries and others who are always in the medal bracket."
On India's prospects in tennis at the Beijing, he said, "Sania Mirza [Images] needs to give her best whatever be the draw to make the third round and Mahesh (Bhupathi) and Leander (Paes) get to play in couple of rounds and feel comfortable in making the quarterfinals, then anything can happen."
"(But) I think we have good chance in variety of sports if we get a break," he added.
"All our athletes, be it Anju Bobby George or Leander or Sania, they would have put in lot of hours of preparation before going to Beijing. The pride is there in all our athletes to make sure that our tricolor is brought up and the national anthem is sung."
On doping issues in Games, he said "it is not critical in lot of sports but it is critical in certain sports. It probably raises its heads more in quadrennial games because there is one event that they are looking to win.
"But in tennis it is lot less feasible because every week they are playing and we have four Grand Slams in a year and so on. Tennis stars feel as to why I should jeopardise in one tournament when I have the chance to win in three other events.
"So, I hope doping is kicked out of Olympics in a big way. I am told they are going to be very strict about it in Beijing games," he said.
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