Why does India, which houses around 1.3 billion people (1/6 of world population), inevitably figures at the end of medal tally at Olympic?
We easily can say that India is lacking in sports culture. Our culture has hindered the local sports development. Most of families want their children to become doctor, engineers or accountants.
In middle of all this our sports minister revealed his plans to help India win double-digit medals at 2024 Paris Olympics and a top-ten finish at Los Angeles 2028. Rijiju, who was in Chennai for the inauguration of a newly-built hockey facility at Sri Ramachandra University, said that the Sports Ministry will provide financial aid to every Indian athlete who has competed at the international level.
Also, all SAI facilities will now be free and open all. If we see the current situation, number of participants is increasing each Olympics but medal winners aren’t.
If we look at the numbers, in Atlanta 1996 games Indian contingent had 49 athletes in 13 disciplines, Leander Paes won the solitary bronze medal. After two decades in Rio that number swell to 117 in 15 disciplines and we returned with just two medals.
India needs to invest heavily to increase the number of disciplines that we are currently participating. We rely heavily on our shooters, boxers and wrestlers. Although athletes in these discipline have won us medals in last four Olympics.
But if we want to go for a top 10 finish we need to invest in those disciplines where most medals are there, like aquatics (swimming, diving, synchronised swimming and water polo), judo, gymnastics, fencing, cycling and athletics.
Inspire Institute of Sport (IIS) is India’s first privately funded high performance training centre for athletes. Founded by the JSW Group, the facility is spread over 42 acres in Vijayanagar.
Inspire Institute of Sport (IIS) is India’s first privately funded high performance training centre for athletes. Founded by the JSW Group, the facility is spread over 42 acres in Vijayanagar
India has no swimmer who can qualify with Olympic A standards. Australian swimming legend Stephanie Rice will be setting up her academy in India. This will help India to produce some good swimmers in coming years.
We have only one fencer C.A. Bhavani Devi who can qualify for Tokyo Olympic as per the current ranking. In judo Shushila Devi (48 kg) will get continental quota. In cycling Ronaldo Singh and Esow Alben looks promising.
But India needs a properly structured plan, quality infrastructure, accountability of funds by the sports ministry and synergy between national bodies. Inspire Institute of Sports, sports excellence centers like Orissa government is setting up, will help the cause if setup across India.
Article by – Bharat Singh (IIT Roorkee)
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