2008 Beijing Olympics – India Gets First Gold Medal

Abhinav Bindra 2008 Olympics Gold Medal Winner From India

Abhinav Bindra 2008 Olympics Gold Medal Winner From India

2008 Beijing Olympics – India Gets First Gold Medal

With first gold, India takes a shine to Olympics
By Nyay Bhushan
Aug 12, 2008, 11:29 AM ET

NEW DELHI — India’s interest in the Olympics took a dramatic turn Monday, with the country bagging its first individual gold medal, courtesy of shooter Abhinav Bindra, who won in the 10-meter men’s air rifle event.

Bindra’s surprise success was featured on all news channels for most of the day, and major newspapers Tuesday carried front-page reports on the historic win.

The sudden surge in interest may help to offset dismal ratings for the Olympics so far. The Games’ opening ceremony, telecast on Indian statecaster Doordarshan’s National channel, reach only about 6 million viewers, roughly 7.5% of India’s 82 million TV cable and satellite households, according to figures released Tuesday by Mumbai-based ratings agency aMap.

The Olympics also are being broadcast on DD Sports, the statecaster’s 24-hour sports channel dedicated exclusively to the Olympics for the duration of the Games.

DD has bagged about seven advertisers for its daily Olympics capsule, and an official was quoted before the Games as saying that the statecaster could generate about $3 million (120 million rupees) in advertising revenue.

Bindra has been showered with cash prizes from sports and government bodies totaling more than $500,000, and with more lucrative sponsorship deals in the pipeline, commercial interest in the Olympics could spike here. (Reference

India Olympic Hero Gets Boost from Mittal
The country’s first individual gold medal winner, Abhinav Bindra, received crucial funds for training from a trust set up by Arcelor Mittal’s chairman.
by Mehul Srivastava

For a country that pretends not to care about the Olympics, India certainly threw itself a heck of a party the night of Aug. 11, when a 25-year-old with a bad back and steady aim won India’s first individual gold medal. TV channels provided wall-to-wall coverage, families danced in the streets, and political leaders tried to outdo each other in handing out hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money.

Here, give him a prize of $60,000, said India’s richest sports body, the Board of Control of Cricket in India, which had nothing to do with the 10-meter air rifle event in which Abhinav Bindra won the gold. Here, said India’s Railways Minister, handing out a free lifetime railway pass to Bindra, whose family is privileged enough that it’s doubtful he will ever take a train.

If only all that support had come before the event. Every four years when the Olympics come around, India hangs its head in shame, with public finger-pointing and consternation that a nation of a billion people cannot find one athlete to bring home a little piece of gold. The country’s sports stadiums are crumbling relics from the 1950s and ’60s, with training facilities so ancient that athletes beg for opportunities to train overseas. Because of political problems among the country’s sports federations, athletes have to cobble together money for training regimens from as many as nine different organizations.

“I think the whole question is how does everything function,” says Bindra, speaking with BusinessWeek from Beijing. “In today’s day and age, things have to be run professionally, and unfortunately, that’s not how things are done.”

Finally, Someone to Cheer for
So it’s no surprise that when Bindra, who is now the toast of the nation, ran out of bullets for practice he had to turn to an unlikely source for help: Lakshmi Mittal, one of the richest men in the world and another of India’s celebrated sons. Mittal, who is chairman of ArcelorMittal (MT), the world’s largest steelmaker, left India many decades ago, but maintains a keen interest in the country. At sporting events—like the 2004 Olympics in Athens—he and his family found themselves cheering for teams picked at random because no Indians had even managed to make it past the qualifiers.

But at the 2005 Wimbledon tennis tournament, he met India’s Mahesh Bhupathi, a player who has had considerable success in mixed doubles. Bhupathi and a friend convinced Mittal to put up $10 million to help support a few athletes with an eye toward the London Olympics in 2012, when the Games will be held in Mittal’s backyard—he lives in Kensington and can sometimes be seen riding a bicycle in Hyde Park. Regarding Bindra’s Beijing triumph, “I am absolutely delighted,” says Mittal, whose Mittal Champions Trust got Bindra a physical therapist, a mental trainer, and on that day when the bullets ran out, cartridges to practice with. “This is a great day for Indian sports.”

Mittal’s trust is administered by his son-in-law, Amit Bhatia, and this year it supported 14 Indian athletes at the Olympics. Many, unlike Bindra, are from less affluent backgrounds, reflecting the kind of conditions under which most of India lives. Archer Laishram Bombayla Devi, who picked up a bow and arrow after seeing people hunt in the fields near her home in rural India, said she spent two years without a coach until the trust stepped in. Now she trains with a foreign coach, for which the trust pays, and has a structured and disciplined training process. “The trust is a lifesaver for a lot of athletes who are not getting any help,” she says.

Eye on the Commonwealth Games
But the fact that India’s corporate houses have to step in where the government has failed rankles some Indians. Bindra, whose family is well-off, has an MBA, runs his own company, and has extensive training facilities in his house at Chandigarh. Yet, according to Manisha Malhotra, an administrator at the Mittal Champions Trust, there was a behind-the-scenes tug-of-war between the trust and the government.

While Mittal is looking forward to 2012, M.S. Gill, India’s Youth Affairs & Sports Minister, and the rest of India officialdom have their sights set on 2010, when Delhi will host the Commonwealth Games. “The credit goes entirely to the player,” says Gill. “We are only here to provide support.” Indian officials hope the Commonwealth Games will lead to even bigger things. They have watched with some envy as Beijing hosts China’s multibillion-dollar coming-out party, and with even greater envy as Chinese athletes compete neck and neck with perennial favorites like the U.S. and Russia.

The goal in Delhi is simple: Just as Beijing is having its moment now, in 2010 the world’s eyes will turn to India. India will be only the third developing nation to host the Commonwealth Games, after Jamaica in 1966 and Malaysia in 1998. The government has managed to earmark nearly $12 billion in infrastructure improvements for New Delhi, including sports stadiums, new highways, a brand-new metro rail system, and a new airport. If things go well, the Indian Olympic Assn. wants to bid for the 2020 Olympics to be held in Delhi. (Reference)

India celebrate historic individual Olympic gold medal
From Times OnlineAugust 12, 2008

Abhinav Bindra has etched his name into his India’s sporting history after he became his country’s first individual Olympic gold medallist.

Bindra won gold in the 10 metre air rifle event and in doing so won India’s first gold medal of any kind for 28 years after he shot a score of 700.5.

India had previously won eight gold medals in the Olympic hockey tournament, but never in an individual sport, and Bindra said he hoped his victory would have a profound affect on sport in the country.

“I sincerely hope this win will change the face of Olympic sport in India,” Bindra said. “In our country, Olympic sports are not really a priority, I hope now they will get more attention.”

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Bindra’s victory came just a day after India’s cricketing superstars crashed to a series defeat in Sri Lanka. Kapil Dev, the former Test all-rounder, admitted Bindra’s feat was arguably India’s finest sporting achievement, even eclipsing the 1983 cricket World Cup victory.

“This is much, much bigger than the World Cup,” Dev said.

“I hope it will do as much for Olympic sports as ours in 1983 did for cricket.

“It is not easy for an Indian to win an Olympic medal, let alone a gold, because there is no sporting culture in our country. I hope this will make sports a way of life in India.”


India shooter Abhinav Bindra wins Olympic gold medal
5:12 AM, August 11, 2008
Randy Harvey

There are 1.1 billion people in India, more people than in any other country besides China, and a lot of them get their news from the Internet. So why shouldn’t they come here to read about Abhinav Bindra, the first gold medalist ever from India in an individual sport?

Besides, it’s a pretty good story to know about even if you’re not from India.

Abhinav Bindra won the gold medal Monday in the 10-meter air rifle competition. He is 25 years old, comes from Chandigarh, wears glasses and is ranked merely 17th in the world. He was in fourth place before the final round.

But what makes the story really interesting is that India, in its 108-year Olympic history, had little to show for it in individual sports other than three silver medals, two in 1900 and one in 2004.

It has won eight field hockey gold medals, but none since 1980. If cricket were an Olympic sport, it would have won more than a few of those. But as Indian tennis player Leander Paes told Bloomberg News, “Cricket is a religion, it’s not a sport.”

Thus, Bindra was heavenly honored Monday when the Board of Control for Cricket in India rewarded him with a $59,000 bonus. (Reference)

India Olympic Medals – See: » »

– Abhinav Bindra Wins Beijing 2008 Olympic Gold Medal In Air Rifle
Sushil Kumar Wins Beijing 2008 Olympic Bronze Medal In Wrestling » »
Kumar Vijender Wins Beijing 2008 Olympic Bronze Medal In Boxing » »

Abhinav Bindra Gold Medalist

Abhinav Bindra Gold Medalist

The Alleged ‘Sai Krishna’ Picture Hoax

The Alleged ‘Sai Krishna’ Picture Hoax

Dear Friends & Fellow Seekers,

Sathya Sai Baba constantly urges all people to strictly adhere to the path of truth. Therefore (regardless of our likes, dislikes or hopes), we must strictly abide by the truth even when it comes to alleged Sai Baba “miracle pictures” that are widely circulated on the internet as being genuine when they are not.

Although there are many genuine miracle pictures associated with the name and form of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, there are several fradulent images that have been introduced into the Sai Community through dishonest individuals. These fraudulent images are subsequently “exposed” for the obvious frauds they are and this reflects badly on Sathya Sai Baba and Sai Devotees (many who advertise the images as genuine).

Therefore, following the path of truth and protecting the name of Sathya Sai Baba from dishonest forces that attempt to exploit Sai Devotee’s innocent faith & belief, relevant information about the following “Sai Krishna” miracle picture hoax is being provided here.

Sai Krishna Miracle Picture – Deception Exposed:

Fake Sai Krishna Composite Image

Fake Sai Krishna Composite Image

Connie Shaw asked Baba about this picture and Baba’s response was related on saibaba.ws:

Connie showed Baba the recent photo making the rounds and asked if the so-called Krishna photo with Baba’s face on it were legitimate, as it looked very suspicious to her and she suspected it was a computer rendering with a fraudulent story attached to the photo re its origin. Baba said, “This is artificial. It is (like a) painting.” Connie asked, “You mean, as on the computer, Swami?” Baba replied, “Yes, I don’t like artificial (things).” He tossed it down. Connie thanked Him for confirming it (Reference).

Therefore, Baba himself said this picture was a fake. This Sai Krishna picture was actually a merged picture of Baba and the Krishna picture beside it.

I strongly urge Sai related websites to remove the “Sai Krishna” picture from their webpages. We must always abide by truth and if we do not abide by truth, those who do will hold us accountable.

The Alleged ‘Sai Baba In The Sky’ Picture Hoax

The Alleged ‘Sai Baba In The Sky’ Picture Hoax

Dear Friends & Fellow Seekers,

Sathya Sai Baba constantly urges all people to strictly adhere to the path of truth. Therefore (regardless of our likes, dislikes or hopes), we must strictly abide by the truth even when it comes to alleged Sai Baba “miracle pictures” that are widely circulated on the internet as being genuine when they are not.

Although there are many genuine miracle pictures associated with the name and form of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, there are several fradulent images that have been introduced into the Sai Community through dishonest individuals. These fraudulent images are subsequently “exposed” for the obvious frauds they are and this reflects badly on Sathya Sai Baba and Sai Devotees (many who advertise the images as genuine).

Therefore, following the path of truth and protecting the name of Sathya Sai Baba from dishonest forces that attempt to exploit Sai Devotee’s innocent faith & belief, relevant information about the following “Sai In The Sky” miracle picture hoax is being provided here.

Sai In The Sky Miracle Picture – Deception Exposed:

Alleged Sai In The Sky Miracle Picture

Alleged Sai In The Sky Miracle Picture

As the story goes, in 1985 an airplane was flying over the coast of South America when the engine suddenly failed. The pilot announced that all was lost and asked the Venezuelan stewardess (who was a Sai Devotee) to pray to her guru to save them. Sai Baba appeared in the sky and the engine resumed working. Sai Baba’s image remained in the sky for 20 minutes and the Sai Devotee took a picture. One version of the story claimed that the miracle was reported in “The Venezuela Times” the next day as “Indian Saint Appears In Mid Air To Save Plane”.

There are some serious problems with this alleged miracle story:

  • There are no known newspapers called “The Venezuela Times”.
  • The image of Sathya Sai Baba in the sky is actually a known photograph of him.
  • Why would Sathya Sai Baba appear as a photograph in the sky?
  • There are no corroborating witnesses to confirm the alleged miracle story.
  • No name was given to the alleged recipient of the miracle.
  • Dates, times and other relevant information were never provided with the alleged miracle story.

Known Photograph Of Sathya Sai Baba

Known Photograph Of Sathya Sai Baba

It did not take more than 10 minutes to create the following composite “Sai In The Sky” miracle picture. The following image is provided to show how easy it is to create these types of photographs with imaging software:
Paint Shop Composite In 10 Minutes

Paint Shop Composite In 10 Minutes

I strongly urge Sai related websites to remove the “Sai In The Sky” picture from their webpages. We must always abide by truth and if we do not abide by truth, those who do will hold us accountable.

Focus On Sathya Sai Institute Of Higher Learning

Sri Sathya Sai

Sri Sathya Sai

Focus On Sathya Sai Institute Of Higher Learning
A parable often retold by Sri Sathya Sai Baba is the story of a little boy who tore up his father’s world map into bits. While the father was furious, the boy decided to make amends and starts putting the pieces back in place to stick them up. Even as he puts in all his efforts he fails to put the world together again. Then he notices that on the reverse of the human body; a nose here, an ear there, a foot here and an eye there… and then an idea strikes him. He reverses all the torn pieces and puts the parts of the human body together so that they form the complete picture of a man. Then he turns the picture to have the whole world going into pieces; the only way to make the world united is by making each human being a wholesome person. There are no other short cuts to it.

It was precisely with this aim that Sri Sathya Sai Baba, revered as a world teacher, began his educational mission in 1969 with the establishment of a women’s college at Anantapur. Over the past three decades, the mission has grown to include a deemed university (the Sri Sathya Sai University) under which come the Anantapur campus, the Brindavan campus of the Sri Sathya Sai Arts and commerce college, Whitefield and the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (SSSIHL) at Puttaparthi itself, besides a dozen schools and colleges elsewhere in India and abroad following the Sathya Sai system of education.

The Ministry of Education in Mauritius, has adopted the Sathya Sai system of education. Likewise educationists in Zambia, U.K., Thailand, Brazil and many other countries around the world have taken up this programme entitled “Education in Human Values” (EHV).

EHV Programme
Historically the EHV programme has its roots in the Bala Vikas programme started by Sri Sathya Sai Baba in the Sixties. Women, usually housewives, were the Gurus and once a week they would interact with children sent to them by willing parents. These sessions usually included retelling stories from the puranas and bhajan singing; discussions on how to tackle anger, envy and so on; enacting plays on nature, conservation etc.

This EHV programme, with suitable modifications was made an integral part of the curriculum when the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation started educational institutions; and with the establishment of the Sri Sathya Sai University of which Baba is the Chancellor, the EHV programme has blossomed to fullness.

Two thirds of a student’s education take place outside the classroom; therefore to ensure that there is no dilution of the EHV programme, these institutions are strictly residential.

Admission to the institutions is based only on merit; and beyond the primary school stage, there is segregation of the sexes; no fee is collected; even hostel accommodation is free; the students only pay a nominal sum for food. Except during vacations when they are sent home, everyday is a working day; even festivals and holidays are converted into learning opportunities.

Academically speaking, these institutions compare with the best in the world in terms of qualified faculty and facilities; besides, classes and examinations are held very studiously. Naturally, the results are enviable and many of the alumni are scholarship students with the CSIR, Indian Institute of Science and so on.

Sports and games also get pride of place. But the main thrust of the Sathya Sai system of education is on moulding the personality of the student, for Baba says, “The end of the education is character; education is for life and not just for a living.” The watchwords in the Sathya Sai institutions are cooperation and harmony. Discipline, orderliness and patience needed for this are assiduously cultivated.

I asked an old student how this was achieved. She smiled and said; “Standing silently and waiting patiently for one’s turn—be it for a bath, breakfast, games or class and back; well, this disciplined routine itself is a great teacher!” Time management is another concept learnt by practice. There are no holidays to laze around; no whiling away over a pack of cards; no watching the idiot box; no gossiping. A key factor that ensures the success of the programme is that the teachers lead from the front.

Practical training in living together as a community is imparted by a self reliance programme. Although there are cooks, electricians, plumbers and so on at the hostels, the running of the mess, cleaning of rooms, maintenance of hygiene, electricity and water supply maintenance, keeping music equipment and sports equipment in good condition — all these activities are done by the students. A history student may thus learn how to change a fuse; a literature student may learn how to take care of overhead tanks; a physics student may learn how to cook and so on. Within one hour, five hundred students eat noiselessly in a mess and leave after all the plates and glasses are washed.

EHV is infused into the teaching of academic subjects as well. That products from trees are used in the manufacture of perfumes; this example, is converted into a fantastic EHV opportunity when the social studies teacher says:

“Look at the mango tree—you throw stones at it and yet in return it gives you delicious mangoes. And as for the sandalwood tree — it imparts fragrance even to the very axe that fells it. See their spirit of sacrifice! That is what we too should cultivate.:

The biology teacher while teaching about bacterial diseases explains how the loss of pain sensation leads to the mutilation of hands and feet in leprosy patients; as a spin off, he adds “So pain and suffering also have beneficial role on life.”

The chemistry teacher while teaching about subatomic particles says “Just as electrons exist unseen in all matter, living or nonliving, so does divinity exist unseen in all things.” Another facet of the EHV programme is the awareness module. Adolescence and youth are biologically explosive times when hormones race thorough the system and cause violent emotions and feelings. The awareness programmes help students understand themselves better. Fear, ambition, success, failure, inferiority complex, birth, marriage, death—students thrash out all these issues with teachers; often the Chancellor too participates and guides. For a practical exposition, the epics of various religions, the lives of saints and the scriptures of various faiths are also studied. In these days of communal and sectarian strife, the message clearly sent down in the Sathya Sai system is; there is only one religion—the religion of love; only one caste—the caste of humanity; and only one language. The language of heart. The students live this precept out, for the festivals of all religions are celebrated. A student of this system is equally at home singing Christmas Carols, chanting the Vedas and reciting the Suras of the Holy Koran.

An in-depth exposure to Indian culture and spirituality is another exercise that contributes to the success of the EHV programme. Be it Adi Sankara, the Sufis, Buddha, the Thirthankaras or Gandhiji, the students are exposed to everything; and to make the exercise more meaningful, the lessons are driven home through mime, theatre, plays and concerts. Fine arts are also given great importance; for it is art that uplifts and refines man. At the Puttaparthi campus, on every Tuesday, the boys have a fine arts session, aptly named “Saama,” when everything ranging form Carnatic music, Kathakali, Bachn’ Beethoven, and tribal music dance are demonstrated and discussed.

The flagship of the Sathya Sai university is the MBA course. Total quality Management and Re-engineering, the mantras of modern management schools are suitably modified here. TQM translates as “Total harmony in the quality of thought, word and deed” and RE as humility combined with co-ordination of head-heart and hand for without the former one would not accept the need for change and benchmarking; and without the latter the change would never take place. The cold, market economics usually taught at business schools acquires the warmth of compassion and human values at this institute.

Excerpted from an article by
Dr. Hemamalini Seshadri
The Hindu