New Delhi: SAI Director General, Desh Deepak Verma, on Sunday exuded confidence that Indian athletes will win more medals in this edition of the Olympics as the country is fielding the largest contingent at the London Games.
"The number of Indian athletes who have qualified for the London Olympics has reached the figure of 81 in 13 disciplines. This is the largest Indian contingent ever in the history of the Games and a record of sorts," Verma told PTI.
"In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, there were only 57 athletes who qualified for the Games. Compared to that, it's a very good performance by our athletes. We are confident that with the largest Indian contingent going to the London Games, our athletes will bring more medal glory to the country," he added.
The DG also highlighted the Sports Authority of India's contribution in helping the athletes to qualify for the Olympics. "SAI, apart from giving maximum number of foreign exposures, also imparted specialised training to the Indian athletes and a total of 31 foreign coaches were employed by SAI," he said.
"About 40 athletes have been provided with the customised training and specialised coaching. For some of the individual players, a separate coaching camp was also organised and all the expenses were borne by the sports body.
"SAI also provided foreign training to some of the athletes, namely Vikas Gowda, Krishna Poonia, Tintu Luka, Mayookha Johny [athletics]; Shagun Chaudhary [shooting]; Mary Kom [boxing]; and Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi [tennis].
"In order to avoid delay in the procurement of the training equipments, all the NSFs were directed by SAI to procure them directly and later on submit the bills to us. This power delegation saved a lot of time as earlier it was SAI, which used to purchase them and hand it over to the concerned NSF," he added.