The Indian tennis players have been assembling in London, and the leading players like Mahesh Bhupathi and Somdev Devvarman echoed the sentiments of most athletes, saying that they would love to meet Usain Bolt.
“Bolt represents the best of human endeavour. He is the best runner on the planet and he is clean so far.
“Remember he does not come from a first world country,” said Bhupathi, who will be competing in his fifth Olympics, partnering Rohan Bopanna in the doubles.
In a release issued by the Indian Olympic Association from London, Devvarman — returning to competition after undergoing a shoulder surgery in November last year — said he would like to meet the US basketball players and some other sporting greats apart from Bolt.
Pleased at getting the wild card for the Games despite not having played on the circuit for more than seven months, Devvarman said he was feeling fully fit and ready for a good show.
He recalled his matches against some of the top players like Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray, and said that he had worked hard to reach a career-best rank of 62.
Bhupathi said that his dream was to win an Olympic medal. He said that the Grand Slams were an annual feature, but the Olympics was a different ball game because it happened once in four years.
“The Olympics takes you out of your shell. You watch the greats of other sports. You realise that there is a huge world beyond your sport,” Bhupathi remarked.
National shooting coach Sunny Thomas expressed hope that the shooters would deliver better results after Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore’s silver in 2004 and Abhinav Bindra’s gold in 2008. He said the shooters had been training in Europe and had adapted well to the weather conditions.
“You have to shoot with the pressure. You don’t have to fight it. The shooters are trained for the entire situation,” he said.
The national coach was categorical that the Indian shooters did not have to “produce miracles that day” and just needed to match or better their performances so far.
Thomas said that it had been very tough to qualify for the Olympics in shooting, and observed that it was “tough to predict” as everyone in the fray had a fair chance, depending on how the luck clicked on a given day.