Chandigarh, Aug 18
Ace Badminton player and Bronze medailist in London Olympics Saina Nehwal today said the support and encouragement extended by the Haryana Government to its players had been ‘fantastic’ and all state governments should extend similar ‘support’ to their players.
Ms Nehwal stated this after meeting Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in New Delhi today.
Besides Ms Nehwal, Olympic Silver medal winner and noted wrestler Sushil Kumar, Bronze medal winner Yogeshwar Dutt and Shooter Gagan Narang and other players from Haryana, including Krishna Poonia, Boxers Jai Bhagwan, Manoj Kumar, Sumit Sangwan, Shooter Annuraj Singh, Judo player Garima had called on Mr Hooda.
Ms Nehwal said now everybody was asking the reason as to why Haryana players were performing so well as 18 players from Haryana represented the country out of the total 81 players in the Olympic contingemt. Four of them won medals in Olympics.
She said Mr Hooda was himself a player and had developed a sports culture in the state. “Mr Hooda still plays regularly so he could better understand the needs and aspirations of the players.” She recalled that Mr Hooda had always encouraged her.
After Beijing Olympics, Mr Hooda had honoured her and did not forget to congratulate her on her victory, she added.
She said now even the players from other states wished they were from Haryana.
On being asked the reason for better performance of Indian players in the Olympics, Ms Nehwal said there had been great awareness in the country in the field of sports and the three medals won in last Olympics gave a lot of confidence to the players that they too could win medals.
Now the players play for medals not for the participation, she added.
Olympic Silver medal winner Sushil Kumar said the Haryana Chief Minister and the Congress MP Deepender Singh Hooda took keen interest and had always given a lot of respect and incentives to the players and that was the reason that Haryana players were performing so well.
Olympic Bronze medal winner Gagan Narang said, “It is amazing how Haryana was supporting its players. He said other states should take inspiration from Haryana and follow it.
Yogeshwar Dutt said Mr Hooda had a lot of contribution in his Olympic medal as he provided complete support after he had lost in the Quarterfinals and could not win medal in the last Olympics.
He got injured and mentally shattered but the Haryana Government appointed him DSP in Haryana Police and also gave me him Rs 25 lakh as cash award, which encouraged him a lot. “ That was a big encouragement and I started afresh and won the medal for the country, he added. Ms Krishna Poonia said Mr Hooda had provided the atmosphere of sports in the state and this was the reason that its players were performing so well.