'These champions have done India proud'
Olympic gold medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra, ace shuttler Saina Nehwal and boxing hero Vijender Singh are among six sportspersons who were named brand ambassadors on Tuesday for the upcoming Commonwealth Games.
Samaresh Jung, the best athlete of the 2006 Commonwealth Games, Olympic bronze medallist wrestler Sushil Kumar and four-time women's World champion boxer M C Mary Kom are the other three brand ambassadors for Games in Delhi, from October 3 to 14.
"These champions have done India proud with their achievements and will serve as remarkable Brand Ambassadors for the Games," Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi said at the inauguration of the event's main venue, the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium.
"Their passion, personality, and presence as well as their amazing pursuit of excellence truly reflect the vision of the organising committee. Their focus, mental strength and resilience make them role models, inspiring generations of Indians not just with their achievements but also with their work ethic, discipline and determination," Kalmadi said.
"It ties up with the ideals of the organising committee and I am sure these champions will inspire Indians to back the Commonwealth Games and take to Olympic sport.
"We are at the cusp of staging the biggest sporting celebrations ever in India and I am confident that this squad of six Brand Ambassadors will find universal appeal across the nation. I believe that they will lend their charisma to ensure that the Games are a huge draw with the people," he added.
The first Indian to win an individual gold at the Olympics
The 27-year-old Bindra won top honours in the 10m air rifle event at the ISSF World Shooting Championship in Zagreb in 2006 and became the first Indian to clinch an individual gold medal at the Olympics.
He also won two gold, a silver and a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester and Melbourne.
Barely 20, Saina began with a quarter-final appearance at the Beijing Olympic Games and has since won three Super Series crowns in the past 12 months.
Air pistol expert Jung, 40, has won seven gold medals, three silver and a bronze in the last two editions of the Commonwealth Games in Manchester and Melbourne.
His haul of five gold, a silver and a bronze in 2006 saw him being named for the David Dixon Award for the best athlete of the Games.
Image: Abhinav Bindra
Vijender has excelled in all major events
Before his middle weight category bronze in the Olympic Games, the 24-year-old Vijender won a silver in the Melbourne Commonwealth Games as well as bronze medals in the Asian Games at Doha in 2006. Last year, he became the first Indian boxer to clinch a medal at the World Amateur Championship by managing a bronze in Milan.
Sushil, 27, won the bronze medal at the Olympic Games in 2008 and is a two-time bronze medal winner at the Asian Wrestling Championships in 2003 and 2008. He also has three gold medals at the Commonwealth Wrestling Championship in 2003, 2005 and 2007.
Besides winning the World Championship crowns in 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2008, Mary Kom, 27, claimed the Asian Championship as many as three times.
Having come back to the ring as a mother of twins, she is has been named the face of women's boxing by the International Boxing Association.
Image: Vijender Singh