For a country that contains more than billion people and 40 million youngsters, a total of 20 medals from 22 Olympics with just 9 gold is too low to even speak off.
India much to their traditional values existed in ancient times, hadn’t yet justified all their wisdom in the modern world. A country that is been regarded as the largest market (China don’t allow lot of foreign marketing) for most of good products is still at a level of being consumer than producer. So, when living itself takes an entire life to succeed (surviving is a goal actually), achieving not aspiring in sports is far, far away from exceeding anything substantial. Olympic games, which is considered as recognition for most if not all global sports, India’s status is reflected in its miserable performance at this gala event.
India participated in Olympics summer games for first time at 1900. Norman Pritchard, a British athlete represented India in Men’s 200 metres and 200 metres hurdles. He won silver in both events and thus India began his mark in Olympics. But for next three Olympics, India had no representation in any form. Finally in 1920, Indian again had a representation in athletics with Chungle finishing 19th in marathon, and India is ever present in Olympics thereafter. Then in 1928, arrived our gigantic force collectively packed under one team in the name of game hockey. Indian hockey team went on to win medals consecutively for next 10 Olympics (till 1972). They won gold medal for six consecutive time from 1928 to 1956, a record that is still standing tall at Olympics.
In 1952, Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav became the first Indian born player to win an individual medal at Olympics. Jadhav won bronze medal at wrestling, a feat repeated by Sushil Kumar at Beijing Olympics after 56 years. Also Mary Leela Row (Athlete) became the first woman to represent India at Olympics in 1952. Despite breaking the world record time, the hero of Indian athletics, Milka Singh missed the bronze medal at 400m race by 1/10th of seconds in 1960 Olympics. Another athlete Gurbachan Singh Randhawa (110m hurdles) also narrowly missed the bronze medal during that period as he finished at fifth place in 1964 Olympics.
Ironically, the heroine of Indian athletics, P.T. Usha also missed the bronze medal at 400m hurdles by 1/100th of seconds in 1984 Olympics. It was agony in case of Usha, because it was reported that she was running so swiftly but the race was restarted again where Usha missed the bronze medal after a photo finish. P.T. Usha qualified for finals by finishing first in semi-final.
After fairing poorly at 1976 Olympics with the introduction of Astro turf, hockey team came back stronger under captain Bhaskaran to win the gold medal again in 1980 Olympics but after that its a sad story of medal less 7 Olympics (28 years). In 1992, Lamba Ram missed bronze medal by just one point difference in archery.
India won 20 medals so far: 9 golds, 4 silvers and 7 bronzes
The golden period of Indian sports started towards the end of 20th century, as India fielded more contingents at Olympics. In 1996, Leander Paes won the bronze medal in Tennis singles event and in 2000, Karnam Malleswari became the first Indian woman to win a medal at Olympics. She won bronze medal at Sydney Olympics in Weightlifting. This is also India’s first and only medal so far at weightlifting in Olympics. Then in next Olympics, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore made shooting to hit the pinnacle since it was an era dominated by Indian shooters at world championship and commonwealth games. Rathore won silver medal at 2004 Athens Olympics in Men’s double trap shooting.
Four years later, India celebrated their best ever Olympics till date in Beijing. Abhinav Bindra won the gold medal at Men’s 10m Air Rifle shooting event and became the first Indian individual to win gold at Olympics. In the same Olympics, Vijender Singh won the bronze medal (also India’s first medal) at boxing and revolutionized the sports in India. With Sushil Kumar bronze medal, India completed their best ever medal tally till date in terms of number (3 medals) at Olympics.
With the highest ever Indian contingent (81) set for this year London Olympics, we can surely hope to create lots of milestone. I said milestones, because records are still far away from us to be neither set nor broken. We should build on our milestones to create records.
The Sports Mirror wishes the best of work (‘Luck’) to all the Indian contingents at London Olympics. Hence, we conform to all our players that “We take pride in your every stride“
Tags: Abhinav Bindra, Deepika Kumari, History of India at Olympics, India at Olympics, Indian Hockey Team, Karnam Malleswari, Leander Paes, London Olympics, Mary Kom, Milka Singh, Norman Pritchard, Olympics 2012, PT Usha, Rathore, Saina Nehwal, Sushil Kumar, Vijender Singh