India has participated 23rd time in Olympics games which held this year in London. Ceremony ended some days before and here is what India stands with – 2 Silver medals, 4 Bronze medals and NO Gold medals! Is this is what India with population of 1.2 billion capable of? Possibly No. Then what’s the problem that India with 2nd highest population in the world, ranked (just) 55th out of 79 countries that participated in London Olympics 2012. Don’t we have sports spirits, don’t we have athletes, or don’t our government encourage and entertain such games? What ever the reason behind, it’s a fact that London 2012 was not a moment of pride for us, or was it?
If you look at the statistics, you’ll come to know that India has never performed well in Olympics games ever so far. Out of the 23 times India participated in Olympics games, India managed to bring back some medals only 17 times and returned back empty handed for 6 times. India has won total 24 medals from 1928-2012 in Olympics games, which is not even 25% of what United States of America has won in 2012 only (US won 104 medals in London Olympics 2012 comprising 46 Gold, 29 Silver and 29 Bronze medals).
If we say Indians don’t have sports spirits, then how come India won the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup? I don’t think that we Indians don’t have interest in sports – I see kids playing in playgrounds, parks and every field in the society without an infrastructure. Students even skip studies at the time of boards examinations for the sole sake of watching cricket or other sports championships. Teenagers play games all the day after retiring from the school everyday. If we don’t have such a great interest in games then not every kid in our country would have known the famous battling star, Sachin Tendulkar. Indian people know sports and do have sports spirits, then what’s the reason behind our failure in Olympics games?
May be, Indians have interest in only one game – Cricket. Cricket is praised in India above all other games. It is liked by all – people, government, authorities, sponsors, etc. This is the same reason that Cricketers are provided with every latest equipments and financial aids while other sportsmen are only provided with promises. Another argument is about government’s role in encouraging games. Government of India hardly encourage and support any sports other than cricket. It is necessary for our government to understand that every sport has importance and especially when it comes to participation at International level.
On our 66th Independence Day, last Wednesday, PM Manmohan Singh announced the plan of sending a rover to Mars – our government do support technical advancements and think it as glory of India but what about the sports. Doesn’t Indian athletes coming empty handed back to their country bring shame to our country? Many of the newspapers wrote about India’s glory in Olympics Games 2012, and believe me, they weren’t praising India. Out of the 80+ Indian athletes who participated in 2012 London Olympics, only 6 of them could compete from others (not even 10% athletes could be called as medallists). I say when we were not ready, then we shouldn’t have been taken participation in the Olympic games this year – after all, it is better not to participate than to lose (so badly).
BJP leader LK Advani said that it has made him both “sad and happy”. “Happy because our tally of six medals in the 2012 Games has been the best so far – two silver and four bronze. At the outset, I am also sad. A nation of 1.2 billion people, accounting for one-sixth of the global population, winning only six medals – and no gold this time, unlike the one gold Abhinav Bindra had won in Beijing – is a highly disconcerting fact,” Advani said. “I think that our national policy must prioritise provision of sports facilities in schools and colleges. Sporting talent in India cannot blossom unless our children and youth begin to participate in sports in large numbers,” he said.
Our sportsmen who brought medals were praised high. Sports minister gave cheques of 30 lacs to each of silver medal winners and 20 lacs to each of bronze medal winners. On Sunday, the vice president of Andhra Badminton Association honoured Saina Nehwal for winning a bronze medal by buying her a luxurious car (BMW) and the car was given by none other than the cricket star Sachin Tendulkar. “I am sure that she (Saina) is happy but not satisfied. We are also not satisfied because we know that you can go to greater heights. You have that ability with Gopi’s guidance. There are better days ahead and as a sportsperson, you always try to believe that your best is yet to come,” the so-called ‘God of Cricket’ said.
India is proud on its medallists for bringing 6 medals this year but of course, we could have done better. We’ve performed better this year than all previous years in Olympics games but are we satisfied? No. I feel government should take all necessary steps to encourage sports from early age in Indians, as the government of United States or Britain do to perform the best in sports. Our government should also learn from them to invest financially in every sport (and not only in cricket) to bring more sportsmen in every field with rising talents and sportsmen spirits!