By Vishal Rajput:
Olympics is a well-known sports event that has brought together athletes from all over the world. Another Olympics is over. 87 countries won a total of 974 medals. This time, also the United States won the highest medals (121) among all the nations. In Asia, only China was able to place itself in the top ten.
We should know that United States, Great Britain, Germany, France, Australia, Russia, China, Japan and South Korea continued to dominate the Olympics. India was 67th and won only two medals (silver and bronze).
India’s performance was one of the poorest. In the meantime, we had our list of complaints – lack of facilities for our athletes, frivolous and irresponsible behaviour of sports administrators, negligence of the sports ministry, etc. We repeat these complaints once every four years.
There are many things we could use to boast about our country, except for of course the performance of the Indian contingent at the Rio Olympics. We should’ve secured a better position since we had all the talent.
We should think and strategise for the long term. Instead of aiming for more medals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, we should prepare ourselves for Olympics scheduled eight to twelve years from now.
Fortunately, we have both great sportspersons and athletes in the country who can train and can be trained. Pullela Gopichand has single-handedly built Hyderabad a destination for budding badminton players. Haryana has great potential and has been under the spotlight for giving the country boxing and wrestling stars. From the east, we have gems like Mary Kom and Dipa Karmakar. There’s a lot of talent waiting to be tapped and honed in the North-East. Maharashtra is big on Malkhamb, gymnasts from the traditional Indian sport could also be encouraged to try their hands at several disciplines in Gymnastics.
It would be much better if money was invested not just in prize money that’s given to the medalists but to all athletes in general, by providing them with sound infrastructure and access to basic facilities to begin with.