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Paes going for gold at Games

Last updated on: May 20, 2008 18:23 IST

Leander Paes, who became the first athlete in four decades to clinch an individual Olympic medal in 1996, is setting his eyes on nothing less than the gold medal at the upcoming Beijing Games.

Paes, on Tuesday, promised to come out with no holds barred efforts to fetch the highest honour for India alongwith estranged partner Mahesh Bhupathi.

- 'Paes-Bhupathi can still be No.1'

"We are quite satisfied with our training programmes and looking at nothing but the gold in men's doubles in the Beijing Olympic Games," the 34-year-old Paes said in New Delhi at a felicitation function organised by Coca Cola and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

"It is great honour for any player to represent his country in the highest level and it's our responsibility to bring the honour back home."

He defeated Fernando Meligeni of Brazil to win the bronze medal 12 years ago and since then has cherished the dream of clinching a gold medal for the country.

"I think we will successfully carry out the stint in the competition."

The Davis Cup captain, however, is not ready to say it's his last chance to play in Olympic Games.

"I am not looking at Beijing Games as my last Olympics. I don't know where to stop. I can go on to play in the 2012 edition in London."

Paes, however, rubbished speculation about any differences with Bhupathi, which could hamper their doubles performance.

Asked whether there were any cold vibes between the duo, he said, "We have played together for around eight long years. So I don't think there is lack of understanding between us. We are the true contenders in Beijing Games."

Citing the "satisfactory" performance during their Davis Cup tie against Japan, Paes said they can still bank on each other on the court.

"Everything is proceeding in right direction. We have recently played in Davis Cup together and it paid back. We have shown tremendous performance while playing together after a long time," Paes said.

The tennis star also had some words of praise for his new doubles partner Lukas Dlouhy of Czech Republic for the upcoming French Open.

Paes recently split with his Australian partner Paul Hanley and decided to play with Dlouhy at the French Open.

Exuding confidence over his new doubles partner, Paes said, "After breaking up with Hanley, I was looking for a partner and zeroed on him after doing my homework."

"All other teams had five months to prepare, while we are left with little time. Though we are starting from behind, I am hopeful about good performance in the Grand Slam."

He, however, confessed that it is very difficult to manage with so many other tournaments in the Olympic year.

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