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Is 1.3 billion populous India not capable of producing Olympic champions?
After 12 days of medal drought at the Rio Olympics, suddenly Sakshi Malik won a bronze medal to bring delight among Indians. Subsequently, PV Sindhu created history due to her extra ordinary run to medal winning spree in badminton event, practically transforming Hindustan into Sindhustan.

The people of India were glued to their televisions to see Sindhu's match against Marin Carolina, while celebrities tweeted regularly with encouraging words for her, apart from updating the score. Although, Sindhu lost the final, she became a champion in the hearts of all Indians, bagging a rare silver medal. She is the first Indian woman to have won a medal above bronze in the Olympics.

The hype was really exceptional. WhatsApp groups were flashing every detail of the match. All news channels ran live commentaries. Unbelievably, Arnab Goswami's News Hour also made a departure from high decibel political debates by literally transforming into a sports hour. This cricket frenzy nation even forgot what was happening in India-West Indies Test cricket. The Indian players on a tour of West Indies were also glued to their smart phones for catching up on the final badminton match at Rio Olympics.

In the end, India only managed one silver and one bronze at Rio, after another medal opportunity was missed by Yogeshwar Dutt. Although Shobha De's tweet was very disgraceful, yet the eternal question remains, why a nation of 1.3 billion people performs poorly in Olympics?

Many would immediately cite the reason of lack of funds for developing infrastructure for sports. But, is that the real reason? If yes, then how extremely poor countries like Ethiopia, Kenya etc produce world champions in many events of Olympics? Cricket is a very expensive game. Yet, it has advanced infrastructure in semi-urban and even rural centers. Thus, citing shortage of funds or nation's richness (economic) can never be a valid reason.

For example, let's consider Dipa Karmakar's case. She is from a very humble background and from Tripura, a relatively backward state. Had she managed a perfect landing, she could have won a medal in this Olympic itself.

Let's examine the entire case a bit differently. If we look at the present Indian athletes' national records, we will find that they are trailing by at least 30 to 70 years in comparison to Olympic standards. 

For example, let's consider the timing record of 100m sprint event. Current Indian record is 10.3 seconds. Current world record by Usain Bolt is 9.63 seconds. Now, if we go in the past, we will find that 10.3 seconds was the world record in 1932, that remained unbroken until 1960. 10.2 seconds became the new world record in 1960. This means that in 100m event, India is trailing by at least 56 years.

This raises another question, either Indian athletes don't evolve as per Olympic standards or there are some other reasons? I don't think evolution of athletes is nation specific. One thing must be noted that in track and field sports, black people (Negroids) have been dominant since decades. You can find black people from Sub-Saharan African regions representing countries like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain etc. 

Similarly, if you closely look at table tennis events, most contestants though represent different countries, but they have a Chinese/Korean/Japanese link (Mongoloids). They might be wearing jerseys of Australia, Canada etc, but from face you will identify them as Chinese.

My point is simple, people of different regions and races have different abilities. Most advanced nations tap talents, nourish them and transform them into medal winning sportspersons. This is exactly where India is lacking.

India is called a subcontinent because of its regional diversities. For competitive sports events, India only looks at urban centers. Whenever I visit rural and tribal areas, I find tremendous potential in indigenous people having the stamina at par with Ethiopian champions in 5,000m or 10,000m events. Similarly, I see many swift swimmers in rough Indian rivers, swift sprinters in difficult terrains, and excellent bulls eye hitting archers even with traditional bows.

The bottom line is, talent hunt in India is totally zero! If proper talent hunts are done, I think India too has athletes with the potential of becoming Olympic champions. The immediate blame will come that the Indian government is doing nothing in this regard. I can say very bluntly, given the political system prevailing in the country, Indian politicians can't do much in sports sector. All they are simply doing is to damage sports institutions.

Now let's find out, who discovered Sushil Kumar, Yogeshwar Dutt, Sakshi Malik, PV Sindhu and Dipa Karmakar in the present generation of athletes? The answer, some dedicated coaches (self-made) who carved out champions from raw talent available in rural and remote areas of the country. This has to be made a wide spread revolution in talent hunt for each and every event.

But, the question is, who will do it? My simple answer is, why not the celebrities? If you can buy cricket teams (IPL), can't you take responsibility for at least one event? Make an effort to find talent for any single event, train them, nurture them and participate in various competitions nationally and internationally. Governments come to help only after one achieves something. But for making one worthy of winning, it may require generous support from celebrities. People of India give a lot of respect and love to these celebrities. Shouldn't they return something by enhancing national glory?

I don't know whether the celebrities or people with lots of wealth will do anything or not. But I am confident that our nation of 1.3 billion people has tremendous potential of producing Olympic champions in almost all events. The bottleneck remains how to identify the raw talents and carve out champions. I am really clueless at this point!

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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