Categories: Sports

The India Olympic story: My personal viewpoint – I

The 2012 Olympics that were held in London, UK was a watershed moment for Indian sports. In those Olympics, India earned 6 medals in all, in boxing, wrestling, Badminton and shooting.
Yet, before that and from what looks like this year in Rio Olympics, India hardly had a medal or two. Also, prior to 1996 Olympics, and in between the 1984, 88 and 92 Olympics did not see India winning any medals.
In 1984, P.T.Usha came close to winning a bronze in 400 M race, but missed by a fraction of a second.
I see question being put up by media, by common citizens across the Net, on print media, TV etc that why a country of more than a billion fail to get even a single medal, whereas much smaller countries like Ghana, Thailand, Greece etc are able to win medals.

Well, frankly I am not an expert on this matter, but from my own personal life experience, our social, political and economic setup, our social mindset and attitude, I have quite a few things to say:
1)I recall once an Indian cricket team lost against a much less talented team in a big tournament. People were furious about India’s loss. People were asking why such a big country with so many people lost to a much smaller country with lesser people.
Then, probably Sunil Gavaskar or some other ex-sportsperson had asked the public:
How many people actually have interest in sports, even in cricket?
How many families are there who support their wards who want to major in Cricket, Hockey, Football, Tennis, Badminton, Swimming etc?
Some might be ok with their kids pursuing cricket, but not other sports. This is because they think that most of the money and glamour is with cricket, so why go for some other sports.
What happens is that many of us are then forced to opt for other careers or jobs, even if we are talented in some sports or passionate about it.

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2)Our schooling system- Sports ko kyun badawa dein? (Why do we promote sports?) Suppose a kid is keen to follow a sports say Tennis and his or her family is supportive too. Yet they do not have millions in their pockets for extensive trainings. So, they might look up to their kids’school for support. Yet, apart from some routine coaching and sports period, are there enough schools which provide support to the kids for the sports? Well, such schools are still far few.
Things have changed a bit in last 10 odd years. I see many schools having coaching academies. Yet most of them are for cricket and very few are for other sports.
Perhaps, our schooling system needs to be more supportive of talented youngsters who want to make a mark in sports. Some beginning has been made in this regard, as I read that some Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) would give after school coaching to students who are attending sports camps or championships and miss out on regular timing classes.
A cue can be taken from China which has special sports schools.

Will discuss more in the Part II of this series.




  • PEEUSH TRIKHA

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