Recently, the Tokyo Olympics 2020 concluded after it was delayed for a year due to COVID. In a country where cricket has almost a billion followers, it was good to see that people were watching sports that are hardly heard of — fencing, equestrian, golf — which had thousands of Indians watching if not millions in the early morning and praying for the victory of Indian contingent of 119 players, the largest ever sent to any Olympics.
The players performed up to national expectations with seven medals consisting of one gold, two silver, and four bronze. Tokyo 2020 had many significant events. Neeraj Chopra represented India in javelin throw and won the gold medal in his very first Olympics. Not only that, he becomes the first athlete to win a gold medal in track and field.
Then come to our men and women hockey teams. While the men won the bronze medal after 41 years. The last medal won by India was in the 1980 Olympics. With this medal, India has the highest number of medals won by any country in hockey with the number standing at 12.
While our women missed out on a medal, they earned the respect of the country with their courage and dedication. They defeated three-time champion Australia in the quarter-final with a score of 1-0 and then gave great Britain a tough fight for the bronze medal. You should keep in mind that the women’s team was playing only their third Olympics; the first in 1980, then 2016, and now 2020.
While they did not manage to win any match in 2016, from that point to giving the nation hope for a medal is an extraordinary feat. For me personally, the Olympics gave me the chance to learn the rules and develop an interest in sports such as discus throw, golf, and tennis.
However, India has much to do in sports as compared to countries like China that has an exceptional record in badminton, table tennis, and swimming. They achieved it by investing heavily in human resources and technology.
Recently I came across an article that mentioned how China was using ballistic missile tech to train swimmers to reduce drag while swimming and teach them the most optimized body shape they can use to swim faster and for long distances.
China and other advanced nations like the U.S.A. and Great Britain also use this tech. It may also help as it is an open secret that the sports budget is not very big in India as compared to other countries. By using data science, we can better know what an athlete needs precisely and we will be using our resources better.
If you analyze, you will get to know China takes part in those sports majorly that suits its ethnicity and body type. The competitor of Mirabai Chanu, Hou Zinzi is not very tall and with all the physics behind they can use this to their advantage to lift massive weights. However, India has also this advantage, Mirabai Chanu is around 5 ft tall and capable enough to do the same feat. She carried 116 kg and narrowly missed the 119 kg from lifting. The same goes for table tennis and badminton.
So India should go on the talent hunt. Maybe increasing the medals require harnessing the natural ability and enhancing it with all the science? Also, GOI should focus on bringing sports to the community level as we have seen cricket is being played in every part of the country, be it Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar, UP, Assam, Kerala, Gujarat, or any other state and the same goes for the wrestling in Punjab and Haryana.
By bringing the sports to the community level, talent will automatically start coming up. Probably, that’s why wrestling contingent was majorly from Haryana. Be it Vinesh Phogat, Deepak Punia, the silver medalist Ravi Kumar, and Bronze medalist Bajrang Punia, they are all from Haryana.
In the end, we should be hopeful and pray for a much-improved performance in the 2024 Paris Olympics. If everything went according to plan and cricket becomes an Olympic sport, there may be a medal there also with our current team.