India's Growing Riches Buoy Olympic Hopes

Billionaire bankrolls effort to increase medal haul in 2012
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2008 7:59 PM CDT
Lakshmi Mittal, Indian billionaire.   (Getty Images )
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(Newser) – India is not a nation known for its Olympic prowess—it's never even won more than two medals in one Games—but Indian billionaire Lakshmi Mittal wants to change all that, the Christian Science Monitor reports. The Mittal Champions Trust is spending millions to train and prepare India's elite—often dissuaded from seriously pursuing sports in the past—for the 2012 Olympic Games.

"We have enormous potential, but we have not always tapped it properly," says a member of the Indian Olympic Association. "Our emphasis has not been on sports; our emphasis has been on water and roads." Adds one boxer whose comeback was bankrolled under the effort: "The Mittal Champions Trust gave me new life. What Mittal does is beyond expectation."