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Just 1 medal? Mittal wants more

August 20, 2008 01:52 IST

The two-year-old Mittal Champions Trust, set up by the world's richest Indian Lakshmi Niwas Mittal, is not satisfied with the results at the Beijing Olympics that yielded just one medal from the 56-strong Indian squad.


The Trust had high hopes from the 14 members of the Indian squad, including the likes of medal winner Abhinav Bindra and boxer Akhil Kumar, that it supports, and had expected at least 10 medals from them.


With five days left for the games to end on August 24, the Trust and the rest of India are banking on pugilist Jitender to deliver at least one more medal.


The Trust will now analyse the performance at Beijing and consult experts to help enhance the mental endurance of the sportspersons that it takes under its wing. It blames the fatalist Indian mindset, the lack of confidence and the inability of Indian sportspersons to perform under pressure for another dismal performance at the games, which have seen China dominating the sweepstakes with 43 gold medals in its overall tally of 76.


The six-member Mittal Champions Trust is headed by Mittal and includes his son Aditya, son-in-law Ashish Bhatia, tennis pro Mahesh Bhupathi, cricket icon Rahul Dravid and administrator Manisha Malhotra. It funds specialised training and provides an overall support system to athletes.


In a telephonic interview from Beijing, Malhotra said, "We do not want any bad luck stories. That happens a lot with Indian sportspersons. Tennis champion Roger Federer goes in saying that he will win. Our sportspersons should also have a similar mindset." 


It is not as if the money is a problem. The Trust has exhausted only $2 million of its $10 million corpus and Malhotra says that steel magnate Mittal had made it clear that the target is the London Olympics. 


"We simply do not have enough quality hopefuls to spend the money on. Competition is very important. The best thing that happened to Bindra was Gagan Narang competing with him," she said.


The Trust now has 42 sportspersons on its rolls and is clear that the target is London 2012 and not the Asian Games or the Commonwealth Games. Recently, it signed on shooter Sushma Singh, who had missed qualifying for the Beijing Olympics by a slender margin.

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