Olympics, Are we there yet?

 

India Olympics Entrance

Image courtesy: http://www.thequint.com

 

It’s that time when the rubber meets the road, and the real tests are on.

It’s that time when emotions run high and tongues run loose.

It’s that time when hopes are pinned and dreams are squashed.

It’s Olympics time!

Today, everybody has an opinion, how a game needs to be played, how a world shooting champion should resort to using “pellet” gun. (Oh, and why India is so bad at sport?)

pellets

These people range from the Glitterati to Twitterati, and it’s increasingly becoming clear that we badmouth our own people and don’t mince words while spewing them.

Indian sprinter Dutee Chand says on Livemint,

“We have never won a medal for running,” “but with God’s grace I will get to the finals and I will win one.”

But instead of backing such fastest or ablest sportsperson in India, we waste no time in putting them in their place. Why are we doing this? Should we remain the proverbial crabs pulling the other one down or is it high time that we changed our ways? The world is watching us and we stir up a nice drama.

India at the Olympics

I don’t need to look back to show that we have come a long way since 1900 with participation at the Olympics (although here’s the history). It doesn’t need to be pointed out that Indian field hockey has been our only saving grace. But hey, we won a gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games – for the men’s 10m rifle. And this was “the first individual gold medal” at the Olympics.

Well, what’s the big deal you may ask? Well, I want you to ask this.

Here is a map by Independent on “Countries by population per Olympian athlete” (All data provided by David H. Montgomery)

India population vs Olympians

Take a closer look at the numbers again:

124 athletes for 1292867585 persons

The second most populous country in the world and this is the best we can do? Unfortunately, this is all there is for now. Numerous reports (BBC) talk about how our per capita income, poor support for sportspersons, popular belief that education pays and not sports (Euronews), and many other such factors, all mar the growth of sports.

I am not even going to pitch the favoritism of cricket over other sports here.

Well, there are many things working against sports in general in India.

But that is not what is bothering me? Today, the population density is such that it is not possible to walk without jostling another person. We strive to survive – be it education, making a career, having a roof over your head or simply, eating nutritional food 3 times a day. It’s a struggle at any level )or all levels.

Olympics, not just a competition

Then, why are we hell-bent on putting out the smallest flicker of hope that is glowing in all our hearts and minds? Olympics is not just a competition, it is a question of existence. It is a hope for a better tomorrow, for the millions of Dipa Karmakars and Karnam Malleswaris from small towns, for the upcoming Shiva Keshavans (Winter Olympian), for the scores of Abhinav Bhindra, who like many ‘educated’ Indians adopted sports over education (Bindra holds a BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration) from University of Colarado, US.

So, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t waste your breath/tweet/words. AND it’s not just my opinion, there are others who think the same way. (@HNatarajan wrote this on Facebook)

We know that we are running a race with too many hurdles, we will run as long as there is a chance to run.

And if we fail, we know in the next four years, there would be some P T Usha from some remote corner of our country at the starting line, because she strove over 1.25 Billion people to reach there.

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