Monday, August 6, 2012

India at Olympics

I couldn't sleep last night when it was the fourth consecutive loss for Indian Hockey team at London Olympics 2012. It is such a shame to us. Being the second most populous nation in the world, India has only won three medals in total till now. The other day when me and my brother were having a chat while watching Olympics on TV, we watched how the Indian lost in the quarter finals of Men's Singles Badminton tournament. No doubt he struggled very hard and gave a tough fight to the opponent. I don't know whether it was his bad luck, but he played against the World #1.

It no where means India doesn't have talent. But the players lack encouragement and motivation. Look at the Chinese; their sole motive is "I am playing for my country" and the country along with its Government supports them. Just imagine, in the finals of Women's Singles Badminton Tournament, both players were Chinese. What does this mean? China took away both Gold and Silver medals irrespective of who the winner was. I guess that's not happening in India. Indian players are not getting proper support in terms of infrastructure and funding. Most of us only care about Cricket. In Cricket, there are hardly 16 nations to compete with and beating them with timely effort is no big deal. Moreover BCCI is the richest Cricket board in the world. It is self sufficient. It doesn't have to depend on the Indian government. Not to forget, Indian cricketers, apart from their lump sum salary, are getting huge endorsements from various international brands. They can survive without BCCI for the rest of their lives.

Now look at the irony; decide which is a greater achievement: to win against 16 teams in Cricket or to win against 205 countries having 300 events in Olympics? The numbers will give you the answer. I am not saying India should participate in all events. Learn from China. It is using its population in an effective way.  Concentrate only on games which we are good at and prepare so well that we must be undisputed in these events. Here is another irony. Look at Michael Phelps of USA. He won 22 medals in swimming alone all by himself at Olympics. India has won a total of 23 medals in the history of Olympics. I just couldn't digest this! Here is what I think needs to be done. India should focus on 5-6 events like badminton, shooting, table tennis, archery, wrestling and boxing. Fund the players in these categories so that they don't have to worry about their livelihood and tell them: "Here is the deal: your job in the next four years is nothing but to become invincible in your game and win championship medals at Olympics." This is how China is now at the top and they have proved it. Also, past players should  not be allowed to be idle and enjoy their retirement benefits. They are required to train upcoming players who are potential winners. The central government may be providing enough funds to the players, but it may not be reaching the payers when its travelling from the top. Our national leaders also need to broaden their minds. When these leaders can present crores of Rupees as prize money and 5-star facilities to every Cricket player who played in World Cup tournament, can they not do the same thing for our Olympians? They should stop being selfish about making money. Most of us know everything boils down to corruption. Provide funds and facilities directly to the players instead through bureaucracy. The sole objective is about making India proud and to have a foresight to see India as a cut above the rest of the world. And we need achieve it no matter what it takes.

It takes time to plan these things. China had a vision: In 10 years, we will be champions at Olympics. They believed the glory in sports will spark motivation in other fields like technology, infrastructure, etc which  are indispensable in bringing up the entire nation. Above all, determination and dedication backed by will power is required in every citizen which will give the confidence that no big achievement is impossible to achieve. Honestly, since India's Cricket World Cup win in 2011, I am sick of watching Cricket. Its a surprising feeling to watch so many different sporting events which I was totally unaware of that's broadening my knowledge about the world of sports. Trust me they are much exciting to watch compared to Cricket. It is with despair I wrote this article  thinking about how pathetic situation in India really is. Encouragement and equal priority for other sports is a must. It is malfunctioning of national leadership which is leaving players devastated. Every country has its own problems. But, I believe there are more problems in India that no one could possibly imagine.