New Delhi, Oct 21: Praful Patel, Minister for Civil Aviation will felicitate the medal winning sportspersons from Air India for their brilliant performance at the XIX Commonwealth Games at a function here on Wednesday October 27.
In a record of sorts, all the nine sportspersons who had qualified for and participated in the games, have won medals, including five gold medals. The tally for Air India is: Shooting - 5 Gold Medals (2 individual and 3 pairs) and one Silver Medal ( pairs), Hockey – one Silver Medal (team) and Table Tennis – one Bronze (Team).
The medals tally is led by ace shooter and World Record holder Gagan Narang, who notched up four Gold Medals, becoming the highest Gold winner for India. By virtue of this, he was given the prestigious role of flag-bearer of the Indian contingent at the closing ceremony of the games.
Gagan won a Gold Medal each in 10 metre Air Rifle (individual and pairs) and in 50 metre Three
Positions event (individual and pairs). A highlight of his performance was a perfect score of 600 in
the qualification rounds of the 10 metre Air Rifle individual event.
Pistol shooter Annu Raj Singh also picked up a Gold Medal in the 10 metre Air Pistol event (pairs) while another pistol shooter Deepak Sharma won a Silver Medal in the 25 metre Pistol event (pairs).
The Indian hockey team that won the Silver Medal saw some important contributions from the five Air Indian players in the team – Arjun Halappa, Shivendra Singh, Vikram Pillay, Gurbaj Singh and Prabodh Tirkey - besides national coach Harendra Singh. Indian hockey has always been synonymous with the national carrier and the tradition carries forward even today. The Bronze Medal came from R.Abhishek, who was a member of the Indian men’ s table tennis singles team that finished third.
In addition to the medal winners, another Air Indian, cricketer V V S.Laxman, whose tremendous effort helped India win a losing match at Mohali, recently, will also be feliciatated.
The two erstwhile airlines Air India and Indian Airlines have been nurturing budding sports talent in the country for nearly five decades and providing them with employment and air travel, besides other facilities. The airlines have been a source of encouragement and support for sportspersons across multi disciplines like chess, carrom, cricket, hockey, shooting, football, badminton, tennis, table tennis, kabaddi, etc.that has helped to produce some of the finest sportsmen and women who went on to bring honour to the country. The airline has on its rolls as many as 32 Arjuna Award recipients, 2 Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna recipients and 5 Padmashris.