Saina had Bill Gates in audience (Diary)

August 11th, 2008 - 9:27 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Abhinav Bindra
By V. Krishnaswamy
Beijing, Aug 11 (IANS) On a day, when the entire Indian contingent’s attention was focused on Abhinav Bindra’s golden effort, Saina Nehwal, the 18-year-old Hyderabadi shuttler, was writing her own script. Even as most of the scribes at the Badminton Hall made a bee line for the Shooting Range, more than an hour’s ride, Saina shocked the fourth seed and World No. 6 Wang Chen in three games in front of a celebrity audience.

Her win may have been overshadowed by Bindra’s effort, but she did have the satisfaction of playing in front of the World’s third richest man, Bill Gates. Gates was not the only celebrity in the audience that also included Denmark’s royal family, Crown Prince Frederik, Crown Princess Mary and Princess Benedikte.

Wonder if Gates knew that Saina is backed by the Mittal Sports Foundation, set up by the World’s fourth richest man, L.N. Mittal.

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Media rush to capture Bindra’s Golden moment

It was a day Indian sport had been waiting for so long. Officials, media and fellow athletes were all at hand to see Abhinav Bindra write a new chapter in Indian sports history. But some of them almost missed the historic moment.

From Randhir Singh, six time Olympian to Rajyavardhan Rathore, Olympic silver medallist in 2004 and M.S. Gill, the minister for sports and youth affairs, they were all close to dancing as Finnish shooter Henri Hakkinen managed just 9.7 on his last shot, which saw him slip to bronze. Minutes earlier Abhinav had fired a near-perfect 10.8 - the perfect being 10.9.

But a group of media persons almost missed out on the Medal Ceremony and the press conference as they were stuck in a traffic jam, right outside the shooting complex.

As Bindra was closing in on the gold, the media contingent was busy ‘texting’ each scores of each series and even those watching other sports were all headed towards the shooting range.

The jam took them an extra 15 minutes to get in but thankfully most reached just in time to hear the last strains of the Indian national anthem and then settle down for a press conference.

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Press Conferences galore, Bindra disappears

M.S. Gill, with his arm around Bindra, wasted no opportunity to give his bytes to the TV Channels in an impromptu press conference minutes after the official briefing with Bindra. Gill met the media in the corridors of the Shooting Complex.

Meanwhile, Suresh Kalmadi, president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), too announced another press conference at the Olympic Village. The byte and quote-hungry media rushed there, too.

But no sooner did the conference got over, Bindra did the disappearing act. Drained mentally and physically by the enormity of his achievement, Bindra was said to hidden himself in a colleague’s room and gone to sleep, leaving his mobile ring away to glory

When he wakes up, he is going to see countless ‘missed calls’ and ‘New Messages’.

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Injured Sania concedes her singles match

While there was great jubilation over Bindra and Saina’s efforts, there was disappointment from the glamorous Sania Mirza.

Already under fire for having gone to the opening ceremony march past in trousers, Sania was unable to finish her match, as she conceded it in the second set, when her wrist injury flared up.

No sooner had she conceded the match, Sania disappeared. But she did convey: “I had surgery on it (wrist) in April 2008 but it’s a different problem though. They don’t know what it is but it is really hurting. It was hurting before I came, but I think you always have to give it your best. I’m still going to try and play the doubles.”

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