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Go for elusive medal: Tendulkar tells Tokyo-bound track and field athletes


PTI, Jul 20, 2021, 7:39 PM IST

New Delhi: Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar on Tuesday urged India’s athletics squad for Tokyo Olympics to enjoy the pressure and not be bogged down by it during the Games as he joined the national federation in giving them an online send-off.

In the virtual event, Tendulkar told them to chase the dream of winning an Olympic medal relentlessly.

”A lot of people say there is win or loss in sport but my message is that the loss should be for your opponent and the win for you. You should go for the medal,” Tendulkar said.

”Don’t stop chasing your dream and the dream should be the medal around your neck, National Anthem playing and the tri-colour flying high.” The track and field contingent will have 46 members, including 25 athletes. There will be 11 coaches, eight support staff, one team doctor and one team leader.

The AFI had named a 26-member team but 50km race walker Gurpreet Singh will miss the bus as his name was not in the long list submitted a few months back. Last minute efforts of the AFI to get him accredited did not bear fruit.

The contingent leaves for Tokyo on July 23. Tendulkar said pressure is an athlete’s companion in all sports and it is crucial to channelise it into a better performance.

”Expectation of people has grown because of your improved performance. That is a good thing. I had always enjoyed pressure or expectation from the people. You have to change it to positive energy.” Star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, on whom the country is pinning its hopes to win a medal, agreed with Tendulkar that expectations from the country’s athletes have increased because of their good performance.

”The country has expectations from us because we have produced better performance. We will do our best and try to meet the expectations by winning medal,” Chopra said. Drawing parallels with his illustrious cricket career, Tendulkar said, ”I was a small boy when India won the World Cup in 1983 and I wanted to hold that trophy one day.

”That day came in 2011 and no host country had won the trophy then. That was the best moment in my life. You cannot wish to achieve more than that.” He also advised the athletes to face the lean patches in their careers with fortitude.

”I had faced it when I had the tennis elbow and the shoulder surgery. I had wanted to play matches to get back and I went to England.

”After playing 15-16 years for the country, you may start thinking why one is going through all these regiments and routine. But till the time you have the enthusiasm to play for the country, you must chase the dream.” AFI President Adille Sumariwalla also hoped that the athletics team can win the elusive Olympic medal this time. The athletics events will be held from July 30 to August 8 and India’s hopes are primarily from Chopra.

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