India target record medal haul at London Olympics 2012
January 2- India's Government has set its team a target of winning 12 medals at next year's London Olympics - four times more than they claimed at Beijing in 2008, which itself was their best-ever performance.
But India has been buoyed by its success at last year's Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, where they finished second to Australia in the overall medals table with a total of 101 medals, 38 of which were gold.
Rahul Bhatnagar, a joint secretary with India's Sports Ministry and currently heading the International Sports Division (ISD), now wants them to build on that momentum in London.
"We will choose certain 'core probables' among the sports persons and focus our resources on them," said Bhatnagar.
"We are targeting 10-12 medals for 2012."
But he knows that just qualifying for some sports in London will represent the height of achievement.
"Being the host country for the Commonwealth Games, we didn't have to enter any qualifying events but that will not be the case for London 2012," he said.
Since India made its debut in the Olympics in Paris in 1900 it has only ever won a total of 20 medals, nine of them gold.
Eight of them have come in hockey and it was not until Abhinav Bindra won the men's 10 metre air rifle in Beijing that they claimed an individual gold.
They also won two other medals in the Chinese capital, bronzes for wrestler Sushil Kumar and boxer Vijender Kumar.
Vijender Kumar who fights in the men's middleweight category, has resisted overtures to turn professional to remain amateur to try to chase gold in London.
He has been receiving sponsorship from Sahara India and won a gold medal in the Asian Games in Guangzhou last year, following up the bronze he had collected in the Commonwealth Games.
"Earlier the coverage of a sport like boxing was limited to a couple of lines," said Kumar.
"Now it has widened to a big story and a large picture.
"We should perform even better in 2012.
"But for that we need more money so that a career in sports can be a lucrative option."
Other major Indian medal hopes expected to compete in London include badminton's Saina Nehwal, shooters Tejaswini Sawant and Gagan Narang and female boxer Mary Kom.
"We are targeting three golds in London in 2012," said Viren Rasquinha, the former India hockey captain and chief operating officer of Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ), a not-for-profit initiative started by billiards champion Geet Sethi and badminton champ Prakash Padukone.
"For 2016 [in Rio de Janeiro], the target is seven or eight golds."
India target record medal haul at London Olympics 2012 - London Flame 2012
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