New Delhi: Union Minister for Steel Beni Prasad Verma gave a warm send-off to two Indian wrestlers, Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt, who will participate in the London Olympics, at a simple function held at Udyog Bhawan. Sushil Kumar will be India’s flag-bearer at the London Olympics opening ceremony on July 27, 2012.
Maharatna Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), a PSU under the Ministry of Steel, has been providing financial support for the training and other requirements of the wrestlers.
Wishing them success at the Olympics, the Steel Minister urged the wrestlers to bring home laurels, and lauded SAIL for being a frontrunner in sports promotion. He also took stock of the players’ preparedness for the coming international event. SAIL Chairman Shri C.S. Verma, too, wished victory for the wrestlers and said that SAIL has conviction in their capabilities and prowess for bringing glory to the nation. Referring to the wrestlers, SAIL Chairman added, “these players hold out hope and promise for all aspiring athletes in our country, and SAIL is committed to the task of spotting such talent, and honing it to meet international standards”.
Sushil Kumar had come to SAIL’s notice for his consistent efforts in improving his performance four years ago. Taking a decision to promote this not-so-well-known wrestler who had had beaten Leonid Spiridonov (Kazakhstan) to win the bronze in the 2006 Doha Asian Games, SAIL had since then supported him and two other wrestlers, including Yogeshwar Dutt, to help them find their rightful place in the history of Indian sports.
Sushil Kumar upheld SAIL’s firm belief in his prowess when he won the bronze medal in the men’s 66-kg freestyle category at the Beijing Olympics 2008, gold in the World Wrestling Championship in 2010 and the gold medal in the freestyle 66-kg category at the Commonwealth Games 2010 in New Delhi. He was conferred with the Arjuna Award in 2006 and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in 2009.
Yogeshwar Dutt, who had won golds in the 2003, 2005, 2010 CWG held in Canada, South Africa and India respectively, is now focusing his attention on winning gold at the forthcoming London Olympics. Dutt also received the Arjuna Award for 2008-09.
SAIL’s commitment to promotion of sporting talent, right since inception, has also found real expression through the sports academies set up by the company in its plant locations. Several cadets from SAIL sports academies for hockey, football, athletics and archery have made the nation proud. Cadets in these academies are provided sophisticated training by former sportspersons of national repute. Birendra Lakra, an alumnus of SAIL’s Hockey Academy at Rourkela, is also on his way to London as part of the Indian hockey contingent to participate in the Olympics.