New Delhi: Having qualified for the London Olympics, India`s discus thrower Vikas Gowda is determined to achieve his goal of winning a medal at the quadrennial extravaganza next year.
Gowda, who booked a place in the London Games despite finishing seventh in men`s discus throw at the World Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea last week, said he has already spent USD 95,000 (INR 44 lakh approx) since January on his training.
"It was nice to qualify for 2012 London as I have been training really hard. Since January, I have already spent USD 95,000 on my training. I am keen to make it to the podium," said Gowda, after receiving the Arjuna award from Sports Minister Ajay Maken.
Gowda along with gymnast Ashish Kumar today received their Arjuna awards from Maken as they were not present on August 29 to accept the honour from President Pratibha Patil because they were taking part in qualifying events outside India for next year`s Olympics.
Making his first final appearance in three attempts at the World Athletics Championships, Gowda put in an effort of 64.05m and though it was not enough to earn a place higher than seventh, he cleared the `B` Standard mark of 63 metres set as qualification for the 2012 Games.
He is likely to become India`s only participant in the event.
Mysore-born Gowda, who is based in the United States, said after spending a week in India he would head back to the US to resume his training.
"I will go back to the US for training and then head to the World Throwing Centre at Phoenix, Arizona to train under former world champion John Godina," he informed.
Vikas`s father, Shive, moved to Frederick, Maryland in the US in 1989-90 when he was six years old. He graduated from the North Carolina University and now trains with Godina.
He came to the limelight after winning medals at college level and then represented India in the World Junior Championships.
Meanwhile, Ashish, who just came back from Belgium where he participated in the qualifying rounds for the Olympics on September 3-4, said he was there to see how he performed the new elements that he had incorporated in his acts.
"I was not expecting a medal there. I just wanted to perform the new elements and I am happy with the result," said Ashish.
Ashish, who created history by winning the first ever medal in gymnastics for India at the Delhi Commonwealth Games before clinching another in the Asian Games in Guangzhou in China, said he was concentrating on floor, vault and individual events to bag a berth in the Olympics.
"There are two ways of qualifying. One is by taking part in the events and getting a podium finish. Second is by accumulating a score of 86 plus," explained Ashish.
Ashish still have a chance of making it to the Olympics at two qualifying events -- World Championship in Tokya, Japan in October and a Test event in London in January next year.
"I would be looking to book my berth for London Olympics in October itself as in the event in January, only the gold medallist would qualify," said Ashish.