- The Olympics
The modern Olympic Games are leading international sporting events featuring summer and winter sports competitions in which thousands of athletes from around the world participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games are considered as the world's foremost sports competition with more than 200 nations participating. The Olympic Games are normally held every four years, alternating between the Summer and Winter Games every two years in the four-year period.
- India's performance in Olympics
India's performance in Olympics sounds very disgraceful, for we Indians and for our country. India has the world’s second-largest population (almost 1/6th of the global population) and it is ninth largest economy. It is the biggest democracy in existence. But, why does India, despite a population of over one billion people, lack behind in the race of Olympic Glory? Every self-respecting Indian knows that India’s strike rate at the Olympics has been less than encouraging.
- Just 28 medals!
A century since first participating in Olympics, India, a nation with a population of 1.3 billion has merely 28 medals to its name. The United States of America (USA), on the other hand, leads the medal tally with 2,522 medals under its belt. This clearly is not the case of population of a country which can be said is directly proportional to the number of medals.
- Prosperity in all other areas, except Olympics
India has managed to put a man in space, led many scientific discoveries, forced the world to acknowledge India’s stride in the field of defense and science & technology. Indian cricket team is considered to be one of the World’s best team, then why are we not able to bring the same dedication and integrity to sports in general and the Olympic Games in particular? In fact, being the second most populous and most democratic country in the world hinders our attempts to harvest a rich haul of medals at the Olympics.
Now let's see where India actually lacks!
WHERE INDIA LACKS?
- Excess importance to cricket
We, as a country, are obsessed with a singular sport and that is cricket. It is only during major events like Olympics when other sports are given a part of the limelight and fan cheering. For the rest of the year, we stay ignorant of who’s who of other sports. They are promoted less, there are fewer sponsors for the other sports, there are even less fans hooting and cheering them to do better and then we go about complaining and trolling athletes when we do not get enough medals.
We do lack proper infrastructure for training and practice sessions of athletes that could make them more competent and well equipped to deal with world class competitors. It would have been far better if our athletes could get access to better infrastructure and get to play all across the country to stay practiced. Heads of the sports organizations are simply people favored by the ruling party. They have no idea of the sport or its necessities and are yet chosen to lead the people who are serious about the sport. Even Abhinav Bindra, the gold medalist from India, went to Germany for his training.
- Lack of encouragement
Right from the very beginning, youth in India are discouraged from pursuing a career in sports. Our parents are obsessed with the likes of medical and engineering. And for girls, the scenario is even worse with list of drawbacks and hindrances they have to face before they could persuade their parents to allow them to play. Most of them are forced to quit sports in order to do something that would give them better job security. Our success as an academically-oriented people proves that we are excellent at pursuing something that pays well, so does India’s obsession with cricket.
- Lack of funds and proper nutrition
Athletes do not receive proper funding to meet their needs. Sportsman don’t have constant source of income and no help is given by government in their early stages of trainings. Some researches prove that the athletes of the leading nations are genetically and physically fitter than our people. They get proper nutrition that is required for a sportsperson with all the necessary elements while our athletes rely on their own little efforts to stay strong and fit.
- Poor administration
There is no proper governing of Administrative issues is the prime concern with Indian sports. Non-Involvement of ex-sportsman in administrative staff is also a major reason why India lacks in this sector. Our economy has been prospering and allotment of funds to different fields of development has been improvising with each year’s budget. However, there is still relatively very less allotment of funds for sports given the sheer number of youths who are willing to take up sports seriously. Enough of IITs and IIMs, when will we get a dedicated sports university?
- Politics and Corruption
We as a nation are corrupt to the core and corruption in sports ensures that affluent candidates score over talented candidates and that’s what refuses to recognize dedicated and talented sportsmen from smaller cities. There is huge influence of politics in sports too, due to which our true sportsmen are missing. Politicians plan well not to promote good talented people, but their own kins. Also, sports management and conduction has merely became another way of filling pocket in quick time.
IMPROVEMENTS TO BE DONE
- Khelo India Youth Games
Khelo India Youth Games, held annually in January or February, are the national level multidisciplinary grassroot games in India held for two categories, namely under-17 years school students and under-21 college students. Every year best 1000 kids will be given an annual scholarship of 5 lakh for 8 years to prepare them for the international sporting events. This is a great initiative by the Govt of India.
- Collective efforts
India being a developing country cannot invest a major part of it's economy for sports. India has a huge number of industrialist and business men who can easily take up responsibilities to encourage these talented athletes and collectively make the necessary arrangements. Instead of giving them crores of rupees as rewards after winning, we should focus on giving them basic amenities for developing them as a good sports person.
- Too much criticism
There is a lot of criticism about the performance of Indian athletes over the years. This decreases their morale. The point is, if you can’t support them, don’t, but please don't criticize them. You don’t know their stories, their food facility, coaching, support, Money, still they made it to Olympics to compete with the ones who were trained, supported and recognized well by their respective country or govt or organization.
We might have a lot of Dhonis but it’s difficult to find more Mary Koms and Sania Nehwals owing to the gender discrimination that has paved its way into sports. Sports and women are the two opposite ends of a pole. The society does not encourage girls to be an active part of sports, moreover they are considered to be delicate creatures and their potential in sports is questioned. This should be stopped. There should be special policies to encourage the participation of women in sports.
- Transparency in the system
Selection process of players and board members needs more transparency. Sports-governing body heads should be an ex-sportsman. This will create job opportunities for sportsmen as well. Players should be only judged upon their performance and not any other factors
- Let's Play
The National Institution for Transforming India or NITI Aayog announced an action plan named Let’s Play for Revitalising Sports in India with the aim to target 50 Olympic medals in the 2024 Summer Olympic Games.
- Improving performance
In recent years, a phenomenal growth has been observed in Indian sports with the staging of mega-events such as the Commonwealth Games 2010, Hockey World Cup and Cricket World Cup, and the winning of medals in the international competitions. India won a total of six medals in the 2012 London Olympics, including two silver and four bronze. The success of Sushil Kumar, Abhinav Bindra, Mary Kom, Saina Nehwal and Sania Mirza has already established the country on the global sports map. It makes us proud to see women leading the board with some major victories.
- A new India
Indians now definitely believe in the power of sports. Indian sport is going through a makeover. Cricket is no longer the only source of glory of the Indian masses. They can now engage with other sports too. India’s recent showing at various championships across the world has started a new era of sports in India. The coaches who were ace players once have also contributed in the revival of some games in India. Gopichand and Padukone have done wonders in reviving badminton. Mahesh Bhupati’s camps all over India is a great encouragement for youngsters to come out and play.
- Good efforts by the Government
To take Indian Sports to new heights, the task of governing and promoting them in India have fallen on a number of Indian sports associations. Sports organisations like the Indian Olympic Association and Sports Authority of India are working towards raising the standard of Indian sports through various talent promotion programs. A host of sports academies and institutes are actively involved in the grooming of Indian sportsmen. Moreover, there are various corporate houses coming to the rescue of sponsors-starved games. India has set up an annual award for companies which promote sports in the nation of more than a billion.
Our country doesn’t lack in talent at all, all our youth needs today is encouragement and motivation. If the Government concentrate on the struggling athletes and help them with providing proper training to nurture their talents and also with financial supports, infrastructure and facilities then INDIA will certainly add more medals to its tally in the future. Moreover, it is high time for us to change our views and turn our attention to other sports rather than cricket and start applauding other games too! Sports in India has definitely come a long way and seems to be heading in the right direction. We need to look beyond international tournaments and promote sports in the country like the Indian Premier League, Premier Badminton League, Football leagues, kabaddi leagues, etc. Such contests should be taken for the Olympic games too.