Rower Bajrang Lal Takhar, boxer Vikas Krishan, paddlers Sharath Kamal and Madhurika Patkar launched the ‘Go for Gold' campaign across the nation by Percept.

The initiative is in tune with the countdown for the London Games 2012 exactly a year away and is aimed at creating an awareness across India about the multi-sport event. Other plans include a torch run from Kanyakumari to Kashmir featuring Indian sports achievers, fashion shows involving athletes, music and cultural events and farewell dinner for Indian contingent.

Takhar, a gold medalist in single sculls at the Guangzhou Asian Games, spoke about his ambitions in the run-up to London 2012. “Beijing Olympics was my first time ever on an Olympics stage and I reached the quarterfinals. Now I am focused on qualifying for London Olympics and competing in the final.”

The Army rower has two events to make the grade (Slovenia and South Korea) where top three get Olympics berths.

His win in the Asian Games has changed the public outlook towards the sport, Takhar said. “People I meet, whether from army or civilian, want to learn rowing and ask me about the way to start. Rowing is for loners and people with a peculiar state of mind. Not everyone can do it.”He trains at Hyderabad with new boats, supplied to rowers following the Asian Games exploits. “Now the federation is supportive and inquires about our needs during preparations. We will go four days ahead of the Slovenia event to get used to conditions there,” he said.

Asked if four days at the venue was adequate, Takhar clarified that competitors are denied access to the venue before that.

Sharath hopeful

Sharath Kamal hopes to clinch an Olympic berth in the Asian qualification tournament, scheduled in April 2012. “I missed out on qualification at the World Championships and am confident of doing so at the Asian event,” said the two-time Olympian (2004 and 2008).

Bhiwani Boxing Club fighter Vikas Krishan wants to emulate club-mates Vijender Singh and is aiming for an Olympic quota. He is an emerging talent, a winner in lightweight class at the AIBA World Youth Championship and Asian Games in 2010.

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