Milkha Singh congratulates Vijay for silver at Olympics

Chandigarh: Legendary athlete Milkha Singh on Saturday congratulated Indian shooter Vijay Kumar for winning a silver medal in the 25m rapid fire pistol event of the Olympic Games in London.

"We are all proud that after Gagan Narang (shooting bronze), Vijay has got second medal for the country," the `Flying Sikh` told PTI here.

Singh said that coming from Army background had helped the shooter. "Full credit goes to the Army. My Army background had also helped me in my sports career. I believe they can play a big role in producing more medal winners at the Olympic level.

They are a disciplined force and have the facilities, especially in shooting, that are required to produce a champion. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore was also from the Army," he said.

Kumar, the 26-year-old Army Subedar from Himachal Pradesh, beat the challenge of world champion Alexei Klimov of Russia, Chinese duo of Ding Feng and Zhang Jian and German Christian Reitz in the 40-shot final to finish runner-up in a thrilling finale behind Cuba`s Leuris Pupo who shot his way to the gold with a world record equalling score of 34.

This was the country`s fourth medal in shooting in Olympic history. The other medal winners are Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (silver in 2004 Athens), Abhinav Bindra (gold in 2008 Beijing) besides Gagan Narang, who opened India`s account in London with a bronze in 10m air rifle.

On badminton player Saina Nehwal losing the single`s semi-final race, he said, "She fought hard and that is what matters most".

Singh, however, expressed his displeasure over the show put up by India`s hockey team. "I feel we could have done better. We taught this game to the rest of the world and produced champions like Dhyan Chand, but we feel ashamed that our hockey has gone down," he lamented.

Milkha Singh also said that he has hopes from India`s Krishna Poonia, who on Friday qualified for the women`s discus throw final round, can win a medal.
"Besides, I am hopeful that we should win a medal in boxing," he said.

Commenting on Vikas Krishan`s ouster from the Olympic Games following a reversal of decision by the International Boxing Association, Milkha said that the country`s contingent should strongly take up the matter. "They should strongly take up the matter and find out why our player lost out," he added.