Watching sports has been enduring joys of my life. As a five year old kid I was so much into sports that my mother used to ridicule me for being a sport fanatic and she used to give weight to her hypothesis by saying that I might have been sports star in my previous incarnation. I don’t know where this longing came in me. In my opinion, my mother’s theory is right as they say everything a mother says is free of error. Moreover I feel proud in being called so. Some of you might argue that if this is a personal account of my life. In that case it is to a certain degree. But I can assure you that what follows is joyous and knowledgeable journey that will make you a keen observer of sports as I proclaim to be.
Last few months have been super sports months. There was joy, passion and despair that formed a blend of never ending life saga. With so much sporting action, I was rather confused at what to follow and what not to. Nevertheless I followed everything keenly. Among all the events London Olympics stood out for me. Olympics have the distinction of being world’s most prestigious and biggest sporting fair. Sportspersons from 206 countries competing in over 300 events speaks for itself. Apart from it, London Olympics were special for us Indians as our Olympics Committee under the eye of Mr. Ajay Maken (Sports Minister of India) sent the largest Indian contingent to the games ever. It consisted of 81 Sportspersons with rushing adrenaline and expectations of 120 billion Indians on their back. That was one aspect that made the London Olympics special. While something else that made these games grand was the fact that Indian’s stood a better chance of winning more medals than earlier games. Indian contingents had few stalwarts that world knew even before games. Mary Kom, Saina Nehwal, Sushil Kumar and Vijender Singh were a few of those dauntless athletes that left their competitors awestruck. I even read somewhere that some of the foreign competitors wanted some of these athletes to be drafted in other groups as that might make their way to the final rounds easier.
India won six medals (2 silvers and 4 bronze) at games. It is something that should make us all proud. It would have been a surprise if India had not won a medal at these games in contrast to earlier tradition where we had no hope of winning. So that’s one area where we have improved. At least we are learning the habit of winning. But still there is a lot to be done. This heart longs for more glory. Let’s look at our neighbours China. How can they win so many medals? Are they super humans? Exactly not. We have a population of 120 billion people. Out of this huge figure of baby boom we were able to win just 6 medals. That tells an alarming predicament. I went about this feature of Indian sports and found a few points that might be hindering our progress that we are ought to produce.
What exactly are we lacking in? Confidence? Let me quote an example of confidence here. Usain Bolt, the name speaks for itself. He won gold in 100m, 200m and 4X100m relay at games. When any race starts all athletes are introduced one by one. When Bolt’s name was announced I witnessed something unusual. He was posing in his trademark pose and showed no signs of cold sweat. Rather he looked all set to go and extend his already attained supremacy. While a fellow American athlete enchanted “my time-my time” which obviously were words coming out of his self imposed fortitude. Saina Nehwal one of my favorites started her campaign in Olympics by overpowering her opponent in just 18 minutes.
That was something that you call real hope for Olympic medal. I just sat and watched her play with nothing less than a win in her mind. That’s the difference between achievers and non-achievers. While many of her Indian counterparts lacked this spirit. They went into games with a fear at the back of their minds that pushed them backwards. Another name that strikes my mind is of Michael Phelps. If you take him as country and compare his personal medals tally with world nations, he will be ranked 34th in that list. Isn’t that extraordinary? It is indeed. When an Indian wins a medal, the joy that runs through every Indian can’t be explained in words. But have you ever imagined the joy of countries that win dozens of medals every Olympics.
Another argument given in favors of India’s lackluster performance is dearth of infrastructure and facilities. This reasoning comes into picture when hockey is compared with cricket. Here’s my point on this argument. Indian hockey team finished 12th (last position) losing all their matches. In contrast, our rivals and less developed neighbours Pakistan finished 7th which is far better rank. I don’t think that Pakistan is having better infrastructure as compared to our nation. But still they did better. Moreover Indian Hockey team had the luxury of foreign coach (Michael Nobbs) which our counterparts did not. I am not totally rejecting this argument of fewer facilities because they are to certain extent needed for better results. But to simply throw the blame on these exiguousness amenities is just a lame excuse on our part. The likes of Sushil Kumar (Silver medal wrestling 66 kg) and Yogeshwar dutt (Bronze medal Wrestling 60 kg) lived in government hostels which like defunct government departments of our country lacked everything that can be called infrastructure. Still they went on to win medals and did our country proud.
Something else that is seen as a hindrance to our Olympic glory is the society we live in. People tend to discourage their wards from taking sports which they think is nothing but a time pass. The Indian mentality is such that young children are never made to believe that there can be a career in sports. If there is someone who gives some hope of getting close to a medal, leg pulling starts. Leg pulling is one of the problems that needs to be addressed as soon as possible because a country where capable and able people are pushed backwards by fellows is ought to go down in the path of development. But my next example is someone I admire for defying such monkey wrench. Mary Kom as we all know after she won India a bronze medal. But did any of you know how she came this far? She’s from Manipur, a state crippled by insurgents. When Mary was starting her career as a boxer and was extending her dominance over women’s boxing, her father-in-law was murdered. She thought to quit but something held her back. She is five time world champion. With no so called ‘infrastructure’ she achieved something that can be just dreamt of by a lot of Indians. She has become the face of the nation with her courage and never ending hard work. Also I would like to add that she competed in 50 Kg category in Olympics which is higher category then her normal category of 46 kg’s. This was because Olympic committee decided to have bout’s only in three categories for women(that were higher than Mary’s category), but still by knocking her better built and strong opponents she brought home a well deserved medal.
Another very important aspect that I think is making life hard for us is system of our country. India is a power driven society that resembles the jungle. The lion is always right and lion’s friends have good life and opportunities. Everyone else’s place in life is dependent on their power. Sure, such societies can function but they don’t progress. Recently Mr Ajay Maken on an awards function for Olympic heroes stated Mission 2020 where he hopes to bring at least 25 medals home. I don’t know if that was a statement made in excitement or if he really means that because Indians have this strange habit of looking for eggs before they are hatched. But now that our honorable Sports Minister has taken bull by its horns, there is no looking back. I wish him good luck and aspire for grand glory for India that can lift this gloom of scandals and failures spooking the people of our country.