India at the Rio Olympics

India’s performance at the Olympics so far hasn’t been that great, not a single medal nearly halfway into the event. Not that we were expecting any, mind you.

The Chinese media reported the ills that plague the sports arena in India. Funny that the Chinese wrote about it rather than the Indian media ! But this was expected right ? So it’s not surprising that none in India took it seriously.

The Indian contingent went to the Olympics just to be there, not to compete (except a few). It was just one of those all expenses paid vacations for the players and officials alike. Rio, Brazil, how many of them would get a chance to visit this country located on the other side of the planet ?

Apart from cricket, does anyone take sports seriously in India ? We all want our kids to be professionals in high paying jobs like medicine, engineering, etc so who cares a heck for sports ? It’s taught in schools just so that a few run for medals at the yearly sports day function. How many of those kids are encouraged to pursue sports ? Hardly anyone these days. It’s not a regular paying profession after all, so who wants to waste time waking up early, exercising, attending regional, state and national meets ? You may win a few medals in between but then what ?

Government projects to encourage sports are an eyewash, money just washed down the drain. Building world class facilities and hiring foreign coaches is not a solution to produce sportsmen and sportswomen from a country of 1 billion.

Two athletes who have impressed me personally are gymnast Dipa Karmakar and Atanu Das in archery.

dipa karmarkar
atanu das
These are kids with a passion. Coming from small towns, these are the talents for the future who need to be nurtured and provided all the support. Surely, there are more youngsters out there who are talented but don’t have the proper resources to come forward.

It’s heartwarming to see some support from the private sector in encouraging these budding athletes. Imagine, today we have only one professional gymnast in a country of a billion ! Something’s seriously wrong. We need to rethink if we need to perform on the world stage. We maybe be a cricket crazy country but it’s not a global sport. Need to also excel in other sports, need to rethink strategy long term else we will keep on going for those exotic Olympic vacations as always !


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