Indian tennis legend Leander Paes received the highly-coveted OLY certificate from the World Olympians Association on Tuesday. The certificate is a recognition of Paes representing India in seven consecutive Olympic Games.
The 47-year-old's feat is unique as it makes him the only tennis player in the whole world to participate in the mega-quadrennial Games seven consecutive times.
The 18-time doubles Grand Slam champion shared a photo of the prized certificate on social media and wrote - “Delighted to receive the #OlyCertificate in recognition of representing our nation in 7 consecutive @Olympics! #FlyingMan."
Atlanta medal biggest highlight of Leander Paes' Olympic journey
Leander Paes first took part in the Olympics at the Barcelona Games in 1992 right after turning professional in 1991. He and Ramesh Krishnan made it to the quarterfinals of the men's doubles event.
1996 was the year the Kolkata-born tennis ace would go on to create history for India at the Atlanta Games. Paes ended India's 44-year Olympic medal drought for in individual events by winning a bronze.
In 2000, he was given the honor of carrying the Indian flag in the opening ceremony of the Sydney Games, and in 2004, he and Mahesh Bhupathi came very close to getting a medal in Athens. The two suffered a heartbreak, losing the men's doubles semifinals as well as the bronze medal playoff in a tight battle.
At the Beijing Games in 2008, Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi exited in the quarterfinals in their final appearance together at the Olympics. At the London and the Rio Games, Paes partnered Vishnu Vardhan and Rohan Bopanna respectively.
The World Olympians Association grants athletes who have competed at the Olympic Games and have upheld the values of the Olympic Charter the permission to use OLY after their names. This initiative, which started in 2017, has seen nearly 14,000 Olympians granted the rights to use the OLY post-nominal letters.
India's star boxer MC Mary Kom was also honored with this certificate last year.Published 18 Nov 2020, 15:28 IST