Same old story: For India, officials comes first as wrestling and archery teams will be without a physio or masseur in London Olympics

It’s the same old apathy for Indian athletes as London Olympics will see the Indian wrestling and archery teams without a physio or a masseur just like it happened in Beijing where Sushil Kumar didn't even have a masseur to help his body recover between bouts. Even before the Indian athletes can begin their quest for medals at the London Olympic Games, they are straddled with a host of vexing — in fact worrisome — problems which could severely affect their chances of mounting the podium, says a report in Hindustan Times, adding that while all leading nations are bringing in various support staff, including physiotherapists and masseurs, to soothe the aching bodies of their athletes, India's two strongest medal disciplines — wrestling and archery —will be without a physio or masseur.

“The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) could have learnt a lesson from the 2008 Beijing Games, where Sushil Kumar had to contest four bouts — three of them in an hour — in a single day before he could lay his hands on the bronze. Leave alone the luxury of a physio and a mental trainer, Sushil didn't even have a masseur to help his body recover between bouts,” says the report, adding the situation is the same, with the five-member wrestling squad and six-member archery team only having a flock of officials and coaches to guide them on the biggest sporting stage.

“In a last ditch effort, Sushil has requested that Arvinderpal Singh, the physio attached with the national camp for the last two years, be given accreditation for London even if it means sending one official less. Yogeshwar Dutt, quarterfinalist at the Beijing Games, has requested the sports ministry for the services of England-based physio Patrick Kenny, who will be based outside the Village. The WFI has crowded its contingent with three coaches and a manager, Raj Singh, the federation general secretary,” says the HT report.

Meanwhile a report in Indian Express says that with the Bindras, Narangs and the Sodhis set to hog the limelight when it comes to the Indian shooting contingent, Vijay Sharma is happy to be away from the spotlight on his first Olympic journey. At times he still finds it hard to believe that he is set to represent the country at the Olympics.

“I need to make the best of the opportunity I have at London. Not everyone gets to be an Olympian. Before I joined the army, I hadn’t held a gun nor did I know about the sport of shooting. I chose to undergo pistol-training at the Military Headquarters of Warfare (MHOW) in Indore. I took a liking to it and then took it up as a sport on the insistence of the unit commander,” Sharma, a subedar said.

Writing about the comeback stories, The Hindu reports that in the last couple of years, 17 Olympic gold medallists, mostly swimmers and gymnasts, and many more winners of lesser medals, began their comeback bids. Of the lot, only six previous gold medal winners made the ‘cut’ and kept alive their quest to add to their tally.

If sprinter Justin Gatlin (US), swimmers — Anthony Ervin, Brendan Hansen (both US), Libby Trickett (Australia) — gymnast Catalina Ponor (Romania) and cyclist Kristin Armstrong (US) booked their berths to London, many illustrious names failed to do so.

Legendary sprinter Merlene Ottey (Slovenia), swimmers — Ian Thorpe, Geoff Huegill, Michael Klim (all Australia), Janet Evans, Ed Moses — gymnasts — Shawn Johnson, Nastia Liukin, Paul Hamm, Chellsie Memmel, Alicia Sacramone, Marian Dragulescu (Romania) — and wrestlers — Kurt Angle, Henry Cejudo, Rulon Gardner, Cael Sanderson (all US) were among those whose comeback dreams were shattered.