Star cricketer Sachin Tendulkar was among those celebrating Sushil Kumar’s wrestling silver medal at London that helped India to its biggest ever Olympic haul of six medals at one games.
“Sushil has done us proud by winning India its second silver medal,” Tendulkar tweeted. “We’re proud of his dedication, commitment and effort. Well done Sushil!”
Flamboyant India opener Virender Sehwag, who hails from Kumar’s Najafgarh area of New Delhi, joined in the praise.
“Sushil showed the size of his heart today and the mental strength of a world champion,” Sehwag wrote on his twitter site. “Najafgarh ka sher (Lion of Najafgarh). Extremely proud of you bhai (brother).”
All major television channels, newspapers and websites showed pictures of Kumar’s supporters at his village in Najafgarh dancing and distributing sweets to celebrate the medal.
Newspapers carried large photographs of Kumar during his bouts in London on their front page as well as the sports pages.
Kumar’s father Diwan Singh, however, lamented what he thought was a chance to win gold.
“He did not have a training partner, otherwise things might have been different,” he told reporters. “There is no partnership in India. That is why we lag behind.”
Meanwhile, big cash awards were announced for Kumar.
The Haryana state government announced a prize of 15 million rupees ($272,000), the New Delhi government announced 10 million rupees ($180,000) and the Indian Railways 7.5 million rupees ($136,000).
The Haryana government said it would also allot a plot of land for Kumar to develop a wrestling academy.