Wednesday, 24 August 2016

India & Rio Olympics

Image result for india at rio olympics

India went to Rio Olympics with 118 members, its biggest ever contingent. The list included many greats  & some of them were pegged as real medal contenders. Few of them were even crowned  as champions much before the game actually started. The expectations were sky high. Indian Olympic Association claims minimum 10 medals while Goldman Sachs came up with a prediction of 8 medals including one Gold. We, 1.27 billion Indian's too were confident that Rio will better the previous all game numbers. For your better understanding, we took 6 medals in London 2012 games. 

Indian athletes proved everyone wrong & ended up with mere 2 medals. First 12 days were totally dried up & went without a medal. Finally in the latter part of the games, we managed 1 Silver & 1 Bronze. Courtesy PV Sindhu & Sakshi Malik. These couple of medals took our country to finally finish 67 th on medal tally. In all means, there was no denying that Rio was an absolute stinker for the subcontinent. 

It's not the number of medals but  the level of performances, which are discussed here. Barring  8 to 9 creditable achievements, rest all were just mediocre level performances (as per Olympic standards). Why all such big events turned out an exercise in despair for a country, which is immense in human diversity. The big question comes here are;

Whether our athletes are competent enough?
Whether our organizations / sports body's have a clear vision?
Whether our athletes are prepared for Olympics?
Whether our preparations are at par with other countries?

The first & foremost reason for the debacle is "India does not have a sports culture". What we need is a synergized sports culture, which can be brought to the system through a fundamental overhaul.  Easier said than done.... still this suggestion can't be called as "pie in the sky". Once the culture is in place, the next biggest challenge should be to re-invent our strategy on sports. Our present strategy of  "we never treat the disease... we only perform postmortem" should change. 

How can we ourselves re-invent our strategy on sports? 

First; Refrain from too much worshiping of  Cricket. 
Second; To focus on 7 to 8 sports events where our country has parent competence... setting up infrastructure facilities at local / regional levels to popularize & drive these sports.   
Third; Create a culture that identifies the "best"....Coach Gopichand rightly said " The best will come out of you only if you put your heart & soul into it" . Identify the organizers & the athletes who are willing to put their heart & soul into it. We need to understand Olympics is not a forum where one country's best should be nominated....Rather this should be the forum where the world's best should contest. Potential at world level matters here. This should be in back of mind while selecting athletes for Olympics.  Look for athletes who have the ability to punch above one's weight. 
Fourth; The last stage is to foster them, train them & reward them so that they stay motivated. While it is the individuals responsibility to follow the passion with continued dedication, commitment & perseverance, it is the nation's responsibility to ensure our athletes are trained at world class infrastructures & that too under world class coaches. 

Am confident, necessary changes will soon be inducted into our system 

Awaiting to be part of history in Tokyo 2020

Cheers....Anil Panicker

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