Cricket superstar Sachin Tendulkar has simple advice to offer India's medal hopefuls at the London Olympics - embrace pressure, don't fight it.
The record-breaking batsman, who has himself shouldered the burden of expectations from cricket-crazy fans for more than two decades, said top sportspersons needed to get used to the pressure. "There is no doubt pressure will be your continuous companion," the 39-year-old was quoted as saying by the Hindustan Times.
"If you fight that, it gets difficult. You have to just understand your body and mind and embrace it. It is easier said than done, but I think, once they enter the playing area, they will all forget about the pressure. They would just want to focus on a good performance."
India, a perennial underachiever at the Olympics given its population, is hopeful of a better showing at the Games having sent its largest ever contingent to London. At the Beijing Olympics India won just three medals - shooter Abhinav Bindra picked up the country's first individual gold medal, and wrestler Sushil Kumar and boxer Vijender Singh won bronze medals. But Tendulkar shied away from predicting India's medals tally at London and urged the country's Olympic squad to just give their best and not worry about the results.
"I am not the kind of person who sets targets like that," he said. "The entire world is there to win and there is going to be only one winner. It's not going to be easy, but yes, we have winners in our contingent. I would want to let our entire Indian squad know that we all are behind them. Whether you are successful or not, your effort will matter to us and for that you will always be heroes. It is the commitment that matters. As long as the heart says that we have given our best' we will be proud of you. It is about the hard work they have put in, the sacrifices they have made."
Tendulkar, who made his debut in 1989, is the leading run-getter in both Test and one-day cricket and has an unprecedented 100 international centuries to his credit.