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Bindra sparks desire for more Olympic gold
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 12 - 08 - 2008

The rifle fired by Indian athlete Abhinav Bindra, during the 10 meter air-rifle event at the Beijing Olympics, has triggered a wave of enthusiasm and pride across the Jeddah Indian community sparking hopes that India “has it” to win more medals.
“It is a great achievement and it deserves tremendous appreciation. It has lit up the lives of Indians everywhere,” Aijaz Khan, a Jeddah cricketer and former national coach and selector of the Jeddah Cricket League (JCL) told Saudi Gazette today.
Khan said that the achievement is much sweeter because of recent internet criticisms of the Indian Olympic team.
He said Indians should strive to achieve more medals like this one. “India is a country of one billion people. Being proud of one medal for a population this big is the same as being proud of a drop in the ocean. India has many more pearls waiting to be discovered,” he said.
When nations much smaller and less diverse than India win more golds, Indians should be triggered to win more at the Olympics, Khan said.
He said that the Sports Ministry should allocate more money and resources to encourage talented young athlete to go for the Olympic gold.
Arif Quraishi, a social worker who has been active in Indian community's welfare affairs for a long time, said that the first reaction among Indians is of “pride and hearty congratulations.”
“This should not just be limited to some temporary euphoria which will pass in a few days and then return in a couple of years,” said Quraishi, who is also president of the Indian Cultural Society and Bazm-e-Osmania, Jeddah branch.
He added, “We should find ways to sustain and strengthen our position in international sports. We should be mature and smart enough to build on this and achieve more.”
He said the Indian media need to grow up when accepting victory or defeat.
“Right now when we win there are fireworks. When we loose there is a different kind of fireworks. We condemn the losers as if they never did anything for our country. No individual or team sport is played in isolation so that means that a lot depends on the society,” Quraishi said.
Quraishi illustrated his point with an example of the day Bindra took the gold.
“The same day the Indian cricket team lost to Sri-Lanka by eight wickets. While she was labeled as the pride of India the cricketers were dubbed the shame of India,” Quraishi said. “This isn't a healthy way to look at athletes.”Indians in the Dammam are also celebrating the victory Bindra brought to India.
“I felt very proud when Abhinav Bindra finally scored India's first solo olympics gold medal in Beijing. It is a good start for India and I hope that other Indian athletes will be inspired by his achievement and bring home a few more gold for India this time,” said Devjee – an Air India Eastern Province regional Reservation Manager.
He said Air India employees were celebrating both at home and at work.
C. Abdul Razak, President of the Indian Football Association in Dammam said Bindra's victor has won the first Olympic medal since the 1980's.
“Bindra really captured the nation of 1.1 billion people's first Olympic gold medal since its men's field hockey players won the last of their record eight titles in 1980.” Razak said. “Being an Indian I would like to congratulate to him personally and we have to use this moment to celebrate and to encourage more funding for sports in Indian athletic programs. This acheivement really proves that nothing is impossible,” he said.
Syed Masood Ahmed, principal-in-charge of the Indian International School Jeddah (IISJ) said that this is both a happy and a proud day.
“It demonstrates that whenever and wherever we make sincere efforts, we are successful. It also should force us to think that given India's population, we should be able to achieve more in sports,” Ahmed said.
“The achievement will inspire us. The school's sports budget has never been a problem. We give importance to sports activities because it helps in the all-round development of the students' personality,” he said.
Juveria Khatoon, former vice captain of the first local womens cricket team, said that India has made steady progress in Beijing. It first won a bronze in women's weightlifting, a silver in shooting, and now a gold.
“That's progressive. It also goes to show that India has a lot of talent, which needs to be use so that we can get more gold,” she said.
“It is wonderful but we need to do something like that because it is a great inspiration,” said Shaimah Mohamed, sports secretary of IISJ girls' section and member of the school cabinet. “This is both an achievement for the atheletes as well as India. We can learn lot from Bindra's victory,” she said.
– Faisal Aboobacker Ponnani contributed to this story. __

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