As I am writing this article, the RIO Olympics is nearing to its end. India has managed to win two medals till now which is much less than what it won 4 years ago in London. There was as many as 119 players sent from India to compete in various games in the Olympics. It was India’s largest ever contingent. India can increase its tally of medals if Yogeshwar Dutt manages one today. There were high hopes from different players to win medals this year. However, many of the superstars failed and the medals India won came from unexpected quarters. Though we cannot blame the players for below par performances as many of them came close to winning the medals, still to win only a couple of medals by a country which has the second largest population in the world is not something which we really should be proud of. And the blame has to go to the Country’s sports system and politics that has plagued each sport in India. We are certainly proud of our players who have toiled hard and shed their blood and sweat to reach to the level where they are competing with the World’s best. To be qualified for such a global event is a no mean feat and that shows the hard work of our sportspersons. There were a few firsts for India. For the first time India won a Silver Medal in Badminton. For the first time, India represented Gymnastics in Olympics. For the first time India sent more than 100 sportspersons to compete in olympics. Players like Sakshi Malik, Dipa Karmakar and P V Sindhu have become overnight sensations.
What is the reason for India’s poor showing in the Olympics?
There are various reasons for India’s poor performance in Olympics. The first and the foremost is Politics. For years we have witnessed the number of officials (who don’t really understand any sport) accompanying the players were more than the number of players. Except Cricket, other sports don’t have glamour associated with them. Players of other sports hardly earn anything compared to the money earned by Cricketers. Lack of proper infrastructure, poor training material, lack of expert coaches etc. is another reason for poor show in other sports. Almost all the sports associations are controlled and run by Politicians who are more interested in filling their pockets instead of making the sport richer. Indian kids are always expected to perform in academics and Parents consider sports as a waste of time. They discourage their kids from taking up sports over studies as they feel good Education will ensure them good jobs and sports will land them nowhere. Till the last Olympics, Indian sportspersons competing in Olympics were given meagre amounts as their daily allowances and the officials accompanying them got more and led more luxurious lives.
Future of sports in India.
Thankfully, the scenario in India is changing when it comes to sports. There is a paradigm shift in the way sports is considered now. The future is not as bleak as it seems. The first good news of the Rio Games was that the daily allowances of the players was doubled by the government. For the first time ever, India’s PM Shri Narendra Modi met and personally wished each participant of Rio Olympics. This gesture certainly must have boosted the morales of the players. Today corporates are coming forward to help fund various sports which will help in developing better Infrastructure and training material for current and aspiring Olympians. Today the players are earning good money because of various sports leagues sponsored by corporates and celebrities. Even the players are rewarded adequately when they bring laurels for the nation. Today’s parents know the importance of sports compared to the parents of yesterday. Kids who show interest in sports are groomed at early age and when they will grow up, the number of players representing India in Olympics will increase manifolds. Kids now have started showing interested in sports other than Cricket which was not the case a few years ago.
Let’s all hope for the best for the future of Sports in India and let’s rejoice the Medals that India has won in Rio. It is a small but welcome change towards the growth of Sports in the country.