Home away from home: Indian athletes sure to get immense support during London Olympics, Vijender the favourite among NRIs

With close to 700,000 Indians residing in the UK, there's little doubt that the British-born desis, or the non-resident Indians, will come out to offer best wishes to the Indian athletes, particularly Vijender Singh, says a report in The Times Of India, adding that interviews with Indians in London indicate that Indian athletes will indeed have tremendous crowd backing during the Games. "We don't have tickets to all events the Indians are involved in, but we will surely be there at the Excel arena to cheer Vijender Singh and the boxers. If he can win gold, Southhall will go crazy."

Vijender Singh sums it up best. "It is a home away from home for us all. We are assured of great support in London, which will be very important at the Olympics," he says.

That he is spot on was borne out by speaking to sections of the Indian community in Southhall. "We will also support Sandeep, Sardar and the hockey team. But Vijender has a great chance of winning a medal. He is really good-looking as well," says a young Sikh girl who has tickets to the boxing at the Excel arena, which is hosting five different events at the Olympics, according to the TOI report.

According to a report in The Hindu, legendary athlete Milkha Singh still feels the pain of missing out of an Olympic medal five decades ago and says his one last dream is to see an Indian win an Olympic gold in athletics. “My last desire before I leave this world is that I want an Indian boy or a girl win an Olympic gold medal for the country and for my sake. I failed to win it in Rome Olympics in 1960,” ‘Flying Sikh’ Milkha said.

“After 2-3 years, I may be no more. Just a few days back my dear friend Dara Singh, who was like a brother to me, passed away. Whether I will live for next few years more, it is up to God. I want to see an Indian win an Olympic gold in athletics,” said the 82-year-old.
Milkha had clocked 45.60 seconds in 1960 Rome Olympics 400m race to finish fourth in a photo finish, beaten by Malcolm Spence of South Africa for the bronze.

"Athletics is considered number one sport in the world, be it Olympics, Commonwealth or Asian Games. But since India gained Independence, only five reached the finals in athletics event and all failed to win a medal, myself including. Others were Gurbachan Singh Randhawa (1964), Shri Ram Singh (1976), PT Usha (1984) and Anju George. I feel ashamed that after 1947 we produced a number of athletes, but failed to win any medal," said Milkha, according to a DNA report.