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Just recently, at an event to launch a book on the Olympics, the boxer Akhil Kumar dispensed with some good old-fashioned honesty. Cheap Nets Jerseys . Asked by this writer whether he was haunted by memories of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where he came within touching distance of a medal, he responded with the directness he was known for in the ring. I sleep very well, my motto is to always look forward not behind, he said. But I am not a fool. I know, medal hota to kuch aur baat hoti?(Had I won a medal, life would have been different).The audience laughed at Akhils earthy candour but, behind the practised machismo, there was a gnawing regret. Akhil was admitting that once he had overcome the reigning world champion in Beijing, he shouldnt have allowed the medal to get away.Medal hota to kuch aur baat hoti.For an Indian athlete, an Olympic medal is more than merely career defining. It validates their lives. It earns them the right to breathe a rarefied air, acquire permanent membership of a very elite club if you will.Besides the imposing history of the hockey team that has won eight golds, one silver and two bronzes, Indian athletes have won only 13 individual Olympic medals since Independence. Nine of those have come at the last two Games. Only one of them is gold. Only one athlete has won more than one.And so, just days away from opening ceremony of the 31st modern Olympic Games, a bunch of Indian sportspersons is ready to touch down in Rio de Janeiro, eager to take their place among this select group. It is abundantly clear that this is an Olympics of many firsts for India. The tag of merely being called an Olympian is no longer the upper limit of ambition for the Indian athlete. Buoyed by the success of their predecessors, the Indian athlete of 2016 looks for more than mere participation. At these Games many more will be undaunted by reputations and eager to confront the best in the business on an equal footing.For the first time an Indian contingent will feature more than 100 athletes. Indian competitors will feature in as many as 15 events. Never before have as many shooters (12) or as many badminton players (seven) made the cut. A womens hockey team will be at the Games for the first time in 36 years.That there is a verve and bounce about India at an Olympic games is unmistakable. The assimilated cynicism that once accompanied this four-yearly foray is long gone. Once Leander Paes broke a glass ceiling in 1996 and Karnam Malleswari and Rajyavardhan Rathore snatched medals at the next two Games, sitting up to take notice became mandatory.Those one-offs set the ball rolling for the breakthrough 2008 Games in Beijing where, for the first time, an Indian contingent returned with three medals -- including the holy grail, an individual gold medal. In the course of a serene performance in the 10m air rifle final, Abhinav Bindra ensured more than the mere optics of the national anthem resonating at a medal ceremony. It was an inspirational moment that swirls around in the minds of Indian athletes to this day. Bindra was one of them -- if he could, surely they can too.In 2012 in London, while a gold wasnt repeated, the tally was doubled. Six Indians returned with medals -- two shooters, two wrestlers, a badminton player and a boxer. For the first time since 2000, two women were among those on the podium. Hysterical celebrations followed, as did a deluge of deserved accolades. Four years on, expectations have expectedly mounted with a stream of young athletes producing sparkling performances on the world stage.These cheerful Olympic stories have had a transformational impact on the countrys sporting ecosystem. National sports federations, previously marred by inefficient functioning, have taken encouraging steps towards professionalising their structures. The government has moved beyond tokenism and stepped in with generous grants for overseas training and skilled coaching and support staff. Initiatives such as the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) that supports several athletes in their quest for medals at Rio and the 2020 Olympics have been a major boost. Non-profit organisations such as the Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ) and the JSW Sports Excellence Program have done their bit as well, ensuring athletes have every possible resource available to produce their best.The results have been visibly upbeat. Shooters such as Jitu Rai, in his first Olympics, are considered medal prospects after a couple of years of top-notch performances. For the last couple of years, Rai has consistently clinched medals on the world stage, including gold at the 2014 Asian as well as Commonwealth Games. Rifle shooter Apurvi Chandela (23) is another one from the emerging crop, producing eye-catching performances since her gold at the Commonwealth Games in 2014.Sprinkled as the contingent is with several first timers, among the hopefuls representing India at Rio is a posse of veterans keen to rescript history. As many as five previous medalists -- Paes, Bindra, Saina Nehwal, Gagan Narang and Yogeshwar Dutt -- have made the cut and will enter their competitions having the experience of previous Olympic success to fall back on.Paes has huffed, limped and puffed to claim a place in his seventh Games after a couple of years of woeful results on the mens doubles circuit. His ranking in free fall, the 43-year-old has been partnered with an unwilling Rohan Bopanna, and the pair would need a minor miracle to get to the podium. Observers reckon a tennis medal is likelier in the mixed doubles, where Bopanna will partner the worlds number one doubles player Sania Mirza, herself hoping to erase the hurt of two abysmal Olympic campaigns previously.Bindra, heading to his fifth Olympics, describes himself as a 2016 Olympic medal wannabe! on his Twitter page. He has announced his grand career will end once the last shot is fired in his competition, irrespective of the outcome. His compatriot Narang, in his fourth Games, will feature in three events -- 10m air rifle, 50m rifle prone and 50m rifle 3 positions -- as he chases the dream of capturing the gold medal that has stayed elusive despite consistently world-class performances over more than a decade.Dutt, whose spasmodic cartwheeling celebration on winning bronze at London was one of the enduring images of those Games, returns for his fourth and perhaps final assault at greater honours. Nehwal, still only 25, will perhaps have more opportunities but has previously described the Olympics as an obsession. A nagging ankle injury has fully healed now and after winning her last competitive tournament in Australia, she is one among a clutch of women on a fiercely competitive circuit primed to make an assault for the top of the podium.Other subplots will demand attention. Can the women archers bury the pain of a nightmarish meltdown from four years ago when they were counted among the favourites, only to dramatically falter in windy conditions in the early rounds? Silver at the World Championships in Copenhagen in 2015 was a reminder that they remain a worthy force in the sport. The star among them, 22-year-old Deepika Kumari, shot a world record-equalling score at the start of the year and appears confident that there will be no repeat of the despair of 2012.On the evidence of recent showings, the hockey boys will surely not wilt as they did in London, where they finished 12th out of 12 teams. Reaching the final at the elite Champions Trophy just recently, their first since the inception of the tournament in 1978, has injected renewed hope. Though most observers are reluctant to bracket them among potential medalists, the buzz around this campaign is unmistakable.And theres more. How far will the sprightly Dutee Chand go, having overcome the most brutal of ordeals over her gender identity to carve a place for herself in the arc lights? Will it be a memorable debut for the three Indian golfers -- including the rapidly improving Anirban Lahiri, who has risen to 62 in the world rankings -- as the sport makes its Olympics debut? Dipa Karmakar, the first-ever Indian woman gymnast at the Olympics, will attempt the fiendishly difficult Produnova vault in her bid to make history -- though she has done so merely by qualifying for Rio.Will the three boxers, who have somehow kept their head above water to clinch spots despite the shambles of their administration, produce a run to the podium? The sport has struggled to maintain the momentum it built with Vijender Singhs bronze in 2008 and as many as eight boxers qualifying for the last Games in 2012. Accusations of election manipulation led to the national association being suspended in 2012, causing havoc among the ranks and making a significant dent in Indias progress. For Shiva Thapa, Manoj Kumar and Vikas Krishan, being on the plane to Rio itself has been an arduous ask. They now seek the perfect finish.Can Narsingh Yadav -- having emerged from a soap-operatic saga to keep the only Indian with two individual Olympic medals, Sushil Kumar, out of the team -- withstand the pressure and return with a wrestling medal around his neck? Sushil is one of two high-profile Indian athletes missing out on Rio. Also missing is MC Mary Kom, who failed to get past the qualifying stages and will have to be content to end her career with the bronze she won in London.In essence, these are an Olympics that seek the unadulterated attention of Indias sports watchers. Halfway across the world, an aspirational, undaunted and well-prepared group of men and women will step into arenas, determined to validate their lives. It is a quest worth investing in.Gaurav Kalra will be in Rio, covering the Olympic Games for ESPN.in Cheap Nets Jerseys Authentic . The 28-year-old from Calgary matched his career best after missing just one shot in his two rounds of shooting in the mens 10-kilometre sprint competition. Smith finished in 23 minutes 15. Cheap Brooklyn Nets Jerseys . With his new coach and six-time Grand Slam singles champion Boris Becker watching him during an official match for the first time, Djokovic appeared tentative early against the Slovakian player, who often appeared content to keep the ball in play. http://www.cheapnetsjerseys.com/ . Bryzgalov stopped 25 shots on Saturday in the Oklahoma City Barons 4-1 victory over the Abbotsford Heat. The Oilers signed Bryzgalov to a one-year $2 million contract last Friday after shedding payroll by dealing defenceman Ladislav Smid to the Flames. PRO FOOTBALLEDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is expected to miss at least the next season while recovering from a dislocated left knee and torn anterior cruciate ligament after a freak practice injury.Bridgewater was taken by ambulance to a hospital after crumpling to the turf during practice, and the team announced hours later that his knee also had other structural damage that will need to be repaired in a surgery that will be scheduled in the coming days. But the team did say he had no nerve or arterial damage and it expects a full recovery after a significant rehabilitation.Bridgewater suffered a non-contact knee injury while dropping back to pass, and it was so jolting that coach Mike Zimmer immediately ended practice. Players were visibly distraught as they left the field, some hurling expletives into the air and others kneeling in prayer for one of the teams most popular players. Moments later, a siren-blaring ambulance rushed to team headquarters to get the quarterback to the hospital.TENNISNEW YORK -- Ivo Karlovic hit 61 aces, the most in a U.S. Open match, during his five-set victory in the first round.The 6-foot-11 Croatian broke the previous record of 49, established by Richard Krajicek in a 1999 quarterfinal loss.Karlovic, who is seeded 21st, beat Yen-hsun Lu of Taiwan 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5), 7-5, holding in 28 of his 29 service games.Karlovic finished with 10 double-faults.He hit 22 aces in the second set alone -- twice as many as Andy Murray produced in his entire three-set victory Tuesday night.The record for most aces in a match is 113, set by John Isner during the longest match in tennis history, his victory over Nicolas Mahut that ended 70-68 in the fifth set during Wimbledons first round in 2010.BASEBALLLOS ANGELES -- Tim Tebow has taken his first big swing at a baseball career, showing off a powerful bat and a few areas of needed improvement in a workout for dozens of major league scouts.The Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback worked out at the University of Southern Californias Dedeaux Field. Scouts and reporters tracked, timed and recorded his every move.Tebows 255-pound muscled physique and 6.70-ish time in the 60-yard dash were impressive. So was a series of long homers into the trees and off the scoreboard.The 29-year-old outfield hopeful also showed he still needs baseball seasoning. Former big-leaguers David Aardsma and Chad Smith repeatedly fooled him with off-speed pitches later in the hitting drills.Tebows representative would like to see him in instructional league play starting in September.COLLEGE FOOTBALLSALT LAKE CITY -- A University of Southern California football player is being investigated on suspicion of sexual assault in Utah.Police documents show authorities are looking into allegations against linebacker Osa Masina stemming from a July 30 incident.Police Lt. Dan Bartlett in the Salt Lake City suburb of Cottonwood Heights says no charges have yet been filed.Los Angeles police say theyre investigating separate allegations against Masina there, though they declineed to specify the nature of the case. Cheap Nets Jerseys China. .Defense attorney Greg Skordas says Masina is cooperating with police.USC says Masina wont travel with the team for the season opener against Alabama due to an unspecified violation of team rules. The school is aware of the investigation.Masina is a Utah native who was a standout player at Brighton High School. He graduated in 2014.WACO, Texas -- Baylor sophomore receiver Ishmael Zamora has been suspended for the first three games of the season after a video surfaced of him beating his dog with a belt this summer.Zamora in a statement apologized for his actions, saying he was sorry that he took out his frustrations on his dog.Baylor acting coach Jim Grobe said the program does not condone that sort of behavior by anyone, and worked with university officials to hold Zamora accountable for his actions.Waco police charged Zamora with a misdemeanor in the animal abuse case. The receiver will also have also perform 40 community service hours in a manner that will teach him kindness and respect toward animals, undergo counseling and give the dog to an animal-friendly home.HIGH SCHOOL SPORTSSEVIERVILLE, Tenn. -- One Tennessee high school basketball player was found guilty of aggravated rape and two others were found guilty of aggravated assault against a freshman teammate, a person familiar with the juvenile court case said.The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the hearing involving the Ooltewah High School students was closed to the public and no ruling was publicly announced immediately afterward. The defendants names havent been released because they were in juvenile court.The Chattanooga Times Free Press first reported the verdicts.The case arose Dec. 22 while the team from the Chattanooga area was playing in a tournament about 150 miles away in the resort town of Gatlinburg. Police in Gatlinburg said three Ooltewah players assaulted a freshman teammate with a pool cue.Gatlinburg police charged three players with the rape of one teammate, though the Hamilton County District Attorneys Office has indicated four freshman players were assaulted during that trip. Ooltewah High School is in Hamilton County, while Gatlinburg is part of Sevier County.SOCCERGoalkeeper Hope Solo has decided to end her season with the Seattle Reign of the National Womens Soccer League.The beleaguered goalkeeper, who was handed a six-month suspension and saw her contract with U.S. Soccer terminated last week, announced her departure from her professional club team in a statement.U.S. Soccer suspended Solo following disparaging comments she made about Sweden during the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, calling her opponents a bunch of cowards for their defensive style of play during the quarterfinals. She wont be eligible for selection to the national team again until February.Before a match last weekend against the Portland Thorns, the Reign announced Solo was granted an indefinite personal leave. Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys China NFL Cheap Jerseys ' ' '