‘WHAT IS important is participating, not winning’, seems to an apt phrase for the Indian Olympics team till date. Ever since India firt participated in the Olympics in 1900, India has only won 20 medals. Simple calculation shows India has won only one medal per five Olympics. No wonder, India is considered as the biggest underachiever in Olympics. It is a failure for sports in India to have showcased such a dismal performance so consistently. The reasons for it are many, but still nothing has been done to improve the situation. It would be no surprise when India comes back from London Olympics 2012 with 3-4 medals (maximum) to show for themselves or even less.
Subodh, Director for Destination Sports Pvt Ltd, which works in developing sports at the grass root level says, “If one looks at talent in the country, there is no dearth of talent from a very small age. For instance, if there is a world championship in swimming in Under-5 category, swimmers from Kerala would win the title easily, such is the talent, but there is no one to groom the talent”. This has to be India’s main reason for failure at the Olympic Games.
India’s failure in Olympics can also be attributed to the Indian sports administrative system, which is corrupt. The recent Commonwealth Games is the best example, where corruption was seen at an all-time high; culminating in the imprisonment of Suresh Kalmadi. When money is not used in the development of sports and its training facilities, how can one assume the sport or the athletes to bring laurels to the country, when they do not have good training facilities to train themselves with?
Incompetent, and worse apathetic, political leadership, has also played an important role in India’s failure in Olympics. PT Usha, one of India’s best athletes, on her own, has been putting her best foot forward to help Indian athletes grow and bring laurels to the country in the Olympics by setting up a PT Usha school. But her school has been struggling with funds. She has not been able to give proper training to her students on synthetic tracks, hence the existence of the school sometimes come into question. Even when an Olympian is ready to train athletes, the government seems to have turned a blind eye.
PT USha was a rare Olympian who is mostly remembered for her efforts during the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, where she was very unfortunate to lose out on a medal. In fact, she might have been the only athlete during the 1984 Games, who reached such heights without any kind of proper training. She trained in difficult conditions, not on normal track and field tracks, but on mud tracks, and she had no proper access to gym facilities. It was only after she came into the limelight during the Games that the government took notice of her.
Godara says, “There is no support for sportspersons, while they are training for the Games, but only after they become champion that the government does something for them. In reality, they become champions on their own”. The same holds true for a number of athletes, who have brought medals in top sporting championships.
The Indian athletes are also not rewarded handsomely after bringing so much glory to the nation in Olympics too. Hence, why would people think of representing India at the Olympics? Sushil Kumar, after his heroics in the last Olympics Games received 50 lakhs from Delhi Government, while Delhi CM announced a prize reward of Rs.2 crore for the Indian captain, MS Dhoni for winning the world cup and four other Delhi players were also awarded one crore each. Is this not discrimination with sports in general?
But, Nachappa does not blame cricket taking the headlines. She says, “Cricket is very professional in approach, unlike other sports”. The Indian cricket team has all the best trainers, coaches, and psyhios, etc., whereas other sports federations lack manpower along with good planning. BCCI has the best marketing strategy, too. Other sports federations need to learn from them, if they are to be considered to be a threat in the Olympics.
The most popular citizen journalists' reports on merinews chosen automatically on the basis of views and comments
View more jobs