Despite having won medals at many major competitions, Jai Bhagwan has never got the kudos he deserved. He always seemed to have played the second fiddle to the likes of the Olympic medal-winning boxerVijender Kumar.
However, Jai made his presence felt in the 60kg category by qualifying for the London Olympics when he made it to the quarter-finals of the World Championships in 2011.
The thought of participating at the Olympics excites him like any athlete, but Jai wants to leave an indelible print on the minds of his fans by winning a medal at the biggest extravaganza of sports.
“Qualifying for the Olympics is like achieving a minimum eligibility for appearing in a test, but the main thing is to crack it and see your name on the list of achievers (medallists). I also want my name to be on that list,” Jai told Mail Today.
Jai, a two-time Asian Championships medallist and a bronze winner at the Delhi Commonwealth Games, is aware of the stiff competition he may face at the Olympics. He doesn’t underestimate the competition, but believes in is his hard work and training on the aspects of the game that are required to win at the Olympics.
“There is no better stage to prove your worth than the Olympics, and because it holds so much value, you just can’t expect to have a cakewalk. I am aware of the level of competition but what I can do is hard work,” said Jai. “There are areas like footwork without which you can’t gauge your opponents in events like the Olympics. I am also working on it and hope to be better it by the time Olympics start.”
Achievements attract a lot of attention and what becomes a problem for an Olympic qualifier is he gets a lot of unwanted calls from well- wishers. The same is happening with Jai, now training at the NIS, Patiala. But so focussed he is in his quest to Olympic glory that he is hardly in touch with the outside world. “At times receiving so many calls becomes a distraction. So I keep myself limited to only a few people as training is the main target before the Olympics,” said.
To provide the finishing touches to his Olympic preparations, Jai will accompany the Indian team to Ireland on a training- cum competition programme this month and to London the next month. “These trips will help us to adjust to the local conditions. We will train for 10 days in London and then will shift to the Olympic Village. It will help us keep the momentum going,” he said.
Whether or not that momentum works will play a role in deciding his fate in London.
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