A jubilant NRAI president, Raninder Singh, lavished praise on the young shooters who returned with four medals from the ongoing Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires. Manu Bhaker, Saurabh Chaudhary, Shahu Mane, and Mehuli Gosh bagged medals for the Indian shooting contingent at the Games.
It’s been quite a year for the young Manu
And NRAI president, Raninder Singh, was all smiles as his young team returned from the tournament with four medals - two gold and two silver. Singh, in a recent interview with TOI, added that he was confident the youth team will achieve positive results in Argentina despite negativity from within the organisation.
"This is perhaps India’s best performance in any multisport event ever. Its 100% conversion where we had four athletes and all four won four medals – two golds and two silvers. Four was the maximum number of athletes any country could send. I told everyone we will come back with four medals at the Youth Olympics. Everybody laughed except Abhinav Bindra.
"What is more interesting is the huge margin by which our athletes won the gold medals. It was a real stamping of India’s authority in the world of junior shooting. Even our silver medals were so close that they could have easily been golds as well. The credit for this goes to the athletes, coaches, and government as well," Singh told TOI.
"They are champions, podium finishers and exceptional athletes, but our team is more than just them. There is a very large group of juniors waiting in the wings. Having said that, one must give full credit to these young athletes for winning medals at all levels at this age. Manu had a bit of a lull during the world championships and the Asian games but has come back strongly.
"At the 52nd ISSF World Championship in Korea this September, India won 27 medals of which 22 were won by juniors who are compatriots of Manu and Saurabh. That is the point. So, while we should celebrate our champions and protect them from losing focus, at the same time, we have an equally strong bench strength that the country can bank upon," Singh added.
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