The grandest extravaganza of sports has come to a rousing end and with that India’s most glittering campaign at the Olympics. India finished with a medal haul of six at the London Olympics doubling the Beijing Olympics tally of three. Medals were expected from Gagan Narang, Mary Kom and Saina Nehwal and they delivered. Unheralded Vijay Kumar proved his mettle at the London Games so did the veteran Yogeshwar Dutt as Sushil Kumar created history becoming India’s only athlete to win back to back Olympic medals in an individual event. India finished 55th on the medals table, 10 rungs higher than their count at Beijing.
Here is a look back at those glorious moments once again. Relieve India’s golden moments at the London Olympics.
GA’GUN’ NARANG FINDS HIS MARK
It all started on the 2nd day of the events with ace marksmen Gagan Narang clinching bronze in the 10m air rifle event. A medal was expected from this former world record holder and world champion and he delivered. With a qualification mark of 598 he looked solid and participating in his third Games he was not going to squander the opportunity. In the final, he shot 103.1 just ahead of his Chinese competitor to win the bronze.
Narang, who missed the final round in Beijing Games on a countback, was in his elements. In the final round, he had a series of 10.7, 9.7, 10.6, 10.7, 10.4, 10.6, 9.9, 9.5, 10.3 and 10.7 to bring India`s first medal give India its first medal from the London Games. Click here to read how Narang shot his way to bronze.
VIJAY KUMAR WITH THE BULL’S-EYE
Vijay Kumar followed suit and made the country proud as he bagged a silver medal in the 25m Rapid Fire Pistol event three days later. No one knew who Vijay Kumar was until 3rd August when he shot silver in 25m Rapid Fire Pistol. From the Indian army, this diminutive shooter had gone under the radar as a medal hopeful. Vijay shot an incredible 32/40 ahead of Feng Ding from China but could not surpass the world record effort of gold medal winner Leuris Pupo from Cuba who shot 34/40.
’SUPER’ SAINA BREAKS CHINESE MONOPOLY
The very next day, India’s brightest medal hopeful, Saina Nehwal overcame her Beijing Olympics disappointment as she became the first Indian to win an Olympic medal in badminton. She started her campaign steamrolling Sabrina of Switzerland 21—9, 21-4 and Lianne Tan of Belgium 21-4, 21-14 to win her group.
In the Round of 16 the Indian stormed past Jie Yao of the Netherlands 21 – 14, 21 – 16 to set up a quarterfinal match with the veteran Tine Baun of Denmrk. The No.4 seed Nehwal outclassed her opponent 21 – 15, 22 – 2. It was touted that only Saina Nehwal could break the Chinese monopoly over Badminton and Saina’s real campaign started only in the semis as she was up against none other than the No.1 seed Yihan Wang of China. Saina lost out 21 – 13, 21 – 13 and the Beijing Olympics disappointment loomed large over the Hyderbadi girl.
As the losing semi-finalist she had a chance to win bronze and she found herself in the company of No.2 seed Xin Wang of China. But as luck would have it, a knee injury in the second game to the Chinese when she was leading 18 – 21, 0 - 1 led to her retirement and thus Saina Nehwal had the bronze in her kitty.
MARY KOM CREATES HISTORY
The name Mary Kom is taken with utmost respect not only in India but all over the world when it comes to women’s boxing. With a tag of 5-time world champion around her belt, to take this mother of two Manipur based pugilist lightly would have been outrageous.
Women’s boxing debuted at the London Olympics and history beckoned each of the pugilists. Mary Kom started off in grand style defeating Karolina Michalczuk of Poland 14 – 19 and then went on to pummel Maroua Rahali of Tunisia 15-6 to seal a medal. She lost to eventual gold medal winner Nicola Adams 11-6 in semis but got the historic bronze. Click here to read how Mary Kom started boxing.
YOGESHWAR SCRIPTS HIS DESTINY
In the wrestling arena, Yogeshwar Dutt won India`s fifth medal and fourth bronze at London Olympics in Men`s 60kg freestyle category wrestling. Yogeshwar Dutt wrestled three bouts in a span of 45 minutes to clinch bronze. After losing his second round match to Besik Kudukhov of Russia Dutt won two repechage rounds and then the bronze medal match. Yogeshwar Dutt defeated Masoud Esmaeilpoorjouybari of Iran 3-1 in the second repechage round to book a place in the bronze medal bout. Earlier, Yogeshwar Dutt won his first repechage round against Franklin Gomez Matos of Puerto Rico 3-0.
SUSHIL KUMAR: THE GREATEST INDIAN OLYMPIAN?
And to top it all, on the final day Sushil Kumar wrestled one better than Beijing to reach the final of the men’s 66kg freestyle losing out to clinch the silver. Sushil Kumar defeated Beijing gold medallist Ramazan Sahin (3-1) to move to the quarterfinals of the London Olympics 2012 (men`s 66kg freestyle category). Sushil then defeated his Uzbek opponent Ikhtiyor Navruzov in the quarterfinals. The 29-year-old Indian went on to demolish Akhzurek Tanatrov of Kazakhstan 3-1 in an engrossing semi-final contest to achieve the memorable feat of back to back Olympics and provide the perfect icing on the cake to India`s successful Olympic campaign.