Olympics: Namma team on medal hunt

Published: 19th July 2012 08:08 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th July 2012 02:36 PM   |  A+A-

A sizeable Karnataka “population” will be in the Indian block at the Olympic Village in London.

A total of 11 sportspersons, a coach, an umpire and two officials will be there to try and make the state and the country proud.

Possibly, as July 27 approaches, more officials might land at Heathrow.

The Indian hockey team, the sentimental favourites of the past, is led by  goalkeeper Bharat Chetri of Karnataka. Defenders Ignace Tirkey and V R Raghunath and forwards S V Sunil and S K Uthappa are the others from the state.

Ashwini Ponnappa, the badminton star, will be in the medal hunt in the badminton doubles partnering Jwala Gutta of Hyderabad. “I have a great partner. She is very inspirational. We have done well as a team and have got past some tough opposition as well. I hope to give it my best shot,” said Ashwini, Karnataka’s best bet for a medal.

Swimmer Gagan A P Ullalmath, the 1,500 metres freestyle specialist, got a surprise entry when the world swimming federation, FINA, named him as the lone Indian under the Universality Quota.

His coach Pradeep Kumar of the Basavangudi Aquatic Centre will also be accompanying him.

Athletes Vikas Gowda (discus throw) and Sahana Kumari (high jump) have made the grade. The US-based Vikas will have Shive Gowda, his dad and coach, with him in London.

Kumari, the women’s high jumper from Mangalore, attained the qualification mark with a 1.92-metre jump in Hyderabad, also a new national record.

Tennis stars Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna forced the All India Tennis Association to pair them for the doubles event.

Bhupathi and Bopanna expressed their unwillingness to partner Leander Paes,  as was decided earlier. Consequently, all eyes will be on the duo to deliver.

Among officials, hockey umpire Raghu Prasad from Bangalore will be one of the 17 elite umpires.

K Govindaraj, president of the Karnataka Olympic Association, as an IOA official and K Satyanarayana, treasurer of the AFI, will be in London as part of the IOA’s contingent.

There is no move to send any official contingent from the state to London as of now. However, a couple of officials from the SAI South Centre may go to London.


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