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Olympic Gold: Why is it becoming a distant dream for us?

Posted by Harsh Gautam
August 18, 2017

NOTE: This post has been self-published by the author. Anyone can write on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Recently, while scrolling through the news feed of my Facebook account, I got to know a fact that India has just won A SINGLE GOLD for the last 4 decades. I was astonished by this fact and went further for my research on this topic and got to know several eye opener facts about our condition in Sports. By Sports, I mean games other than CRICKET as we all know cricket is not just a sport in India, it’s a religion in our country. While researching, on one hand, I saw the golden history of the developed nations like US and China in the Olympics and on the other hand, I saw the worse condition of India which is deteriorating day by day. Despite its massive population of over 1.2 billion people, India consistently fails to grab many medals at the Olympic Games. If we consider the facts, IN TERMS OF POPULATION SIZE AND MEDALS, THERE IS NO WORSE OLYMPIC PERFORMER THAN INDIA. When we see these facts, we slander our athletes for not performing well, we abuse the trial committees for not picking up the best ones and at last, we curse the authorities and the government for not providing the facilities to the Olympians. But have we ever wondered that what are the reasons that our condition is so disappointing in the Olympics? We all have an answer to this question, that the government is responsible for this, they don’t provide funds to the athletes and training centres and they don’t pick the right ones to represent our nation. But, the need of an hour is to think the other way round and to adopt the “think out of the box” policy again.

We all have witnessed the performance of our Indian Hockey Team in the world league, Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and the team winning the Junior Hockey World Cup. We too have seen the performances of star shuttlers PV Sindhu and Kidambi Shrikanth outshining in the Badminton Super Series. So, there is no doubt that India has a sporting talent, so why does it fails to translate this into Olympic success? There have been some academic studies that suggest the total population of a country is irrelevant when it comes to Olympic medal tallies, but that rather what counts is the part of a population that participates effectively in sports. Anirudh Krishna and Eric Haglund argue in a 2008 report in the Indian publication Economic and Political Weekly that “Olympians are drawn, not from the entire population of a country, but only from the share that is effectively participating. Low medal tallies can arise both because a country has very few people and because very few of its people effectively participate.” They go on to contend that there are certain factors that limit effective participation. Those factors, they say, are health, education, public information and what they call ‘physical connectedness’ i.e. a population’s ability to travel. In other words, an unhealthy individual is unlikely to participate in sport; an educated individual is likely to be more ambitious and school attendance increases the chance that talent will be spotted and developed; in terms of public information, an individual can only aspire to be an Olympic athlete if he or she has heard about the Olympics via the media; and where there is little ‘physical connectedness’ in remote, isolated villages, many sporting jewels may go undiscovered. In rural India, where life expectancy and primary school enrollment are below the world average and where there is more limited access to the outside world both physically and communication-wise, much of the effective participating population is lost. Now, we have to think from the first step, that what have we done in the past so that we failed to create a basic structure of success in the Olympics. We have to re-organise the management of the sports hierarchy in India. Sports should be made compulsory in the schools. The government should bring the faith of the people towards sports that sports can too give them a livelihood. Another point is that people think is that there is a lot of struggle in sports and it is true. So, the next aim of the government should be to adopt that structure in the management of the authorities that the word “struggle” gets out from the field of sports. We, the youth of the country should also participate in sports, if not actively then passively by encouraging the sports field on the social media, blogs and newsletters. They too need the media encouragement as the cricketers get in the country. The Target Olympic podium(TOP) program was a great step forward by the government but it should be revoked again after the latest olympic games and its tenure should be of 4 years instead of a single. If we’ll be able to achieve that model of success in the field, then nobody can stop us to bring the gold…

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