Indian tennis hall of fame Leander Paes is not only revered as one of the greatest doubles players ever, he also earned the country its first Olympics medal in the sport. It was also a proud moment for the Paes family as Leander’s father, Vece Paes, the former Indian hockey team star, who is also an Olympic medallist. Walking in his father’s footsteps and reaching his dream was the ultimate moment of happiness for Paes, but the 46 year old recently revealed that his father didn’t believe that Leander could sit at the dining table with him until he won his own Olympic medal!
Vece Paes, the former hockey midfielder secured a bronze at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany, 24 years before Leander earned his own bronze at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
Speaking a latest episode of Sony Sports’s ‘The Medal of Glory’ Leander was interviewed about his inspiration and his journey to Olympic glory just like his father.
Vece’s bronze medal was a priceless object for a young Leander, and he revealed that he used to polish it every Sunday when he was a kid.
“Even now, when I get a chance to look at my dad’s medal and my medal next to each other, its probably the happiest trophy that I have,” Leander told the interviewer in the clip.
“Its the one trophy that not just brings a smile to my face, not just brings a smile to my dad because we have a little father and son competition going on,” the 46 year old added.
The competition was there in relation to the young Leander’s place at the family dining table, which he later earned along with his bronze in Munich.
“He believed that I could not sit at the dining table until I won my own Olympic medal,” Leander said with a chuckle.
However, Leander also stated that his father was the inspiration and his role model for his success at the grand stage.
The former doubles world no. 1’s bronze was India’s first individual Olympic medla after a gap of 44 years, after Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhavwon a bronze medal inwrestling at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki.
Check out the full interview here, courtesy to the official Facebook page of Sony Sports.