August 05, 2008

Olympics - India's eternal desire for a Gold...will it be fulfilled in 2008?

With the Beijing Olympics around the corner, only one thought is on most of the Indian people's minds....will we get a medal this time ?? (No...not a Gold...any medal would do). Thats been the sad story of the indian sports ever since Olympics have been established. The fact that India has never won an individual gold medal is surprising to believe when countries like Cuba, Jamaica, Israel & Saudi Arabia have managed to bag Gold medals. The fact the Rathore...who won a silver was considered pride of the country and was given a promotion in the indian army and was awarded all kinds of honors that take people a lifetime of excellence to achieve tells the sad tale of the current state of Indian sports. On the other end of the spectrum is USA...where they literally dominate the medals tally...what ever said about the competition from China, Russia, Australia etc....USA is the team to beat. Michael Phelps....the swimming sensation that won about 6 gold medals in the previous edition Olympics took a sabbatical because he couldnt achieve his goal of 8 GOLDS !!!!!! And he is back this year to take another shot at getting 8 Golds....1 more than Mark Spitz....and most of the people in the US wouldnt even know who Michael Phelps is....he has not been conferred with country's highest honor nor has been invited to every damn award ceremony organized in the country....and the most surpising thing is that he is not even 24 yrs old!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We as a nation cry or erupt in joy with the performance of the Indian Cricket Team...the "Alpha, Beta and the Gamma" of Indian sports. The kind of recognition, fame, money and media coverage that these cricketers get is envied by all the other sports men & women. People like Dhoni...who has not even achieved a lot in like is given Rajiv Khel Ratna award.....thats the highest honor given to a Indian sports person....was Kapil Dev awarded with that ? Sunil Gavaskar ? And ask any indian cricket fan....who has contributed more to Indian cricket (so far) Dhoni or Kapil/gavaskar/Dravid/Ganguly ? Dhoni has no doubt transformed the Indian ODI team but I think the government should have taken their time as they did in SACHIN's case....8 yrs !!!!!!! Same with Sania mirza....she is honored like crazy at all the award ceremonies and people turn a cold shoulder to Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupati who actually win tournaments....Sania no doubt has brought Womens tennis into limelight in India but she has done little of note to be honored with lifetime achievement awards.

I think the we should stop idolizing & creating media publicized demi gods like our cricketers, Anju George, Sania mirza and start concentrating and encouraging the guys that go unnoticed....Indian Hocket team, shooter, boxers, chess players etc....

As somebody said "We did our part by participating, thats what counts...winning is only a bonus"...unfortunately thats been the kind of attitude that has been inculcated in us since we are kids.....what we see is what we learn.....

the Olympics is not only about participating...its about winning too....I think we have participated enough...its time to start winning...atleast take the right steps towards winning.....

The classic example of how things have gone to worse can be seen by the sheer lackluster performance of the mens hockey team...once the Badshah's of the world with a lot of Gold medals...we had come to a stage where we had to play the qualifiers...and now we have hit the rock bottom....we failed to qualify for the olympics.....that should serve as an eye opener to a lot of people that something needs to be done....

Some might say....."in India we concentrate on studies and not on sports"....I would say "why not" sports are a form of expression....we need to have some kind of exposure to sports as it gives you a different platform to excel....why should we only excel in studies....as such most of the schools in the indian system only require you to memorize things and mechanically solve the problems from the last "10 years" to pass the final exam. Are we blind to believe that only people of india study, and others dont ? Look at China, germany and other major countries....they are developing as a nation....in research, education, manufacturing, sports etc....

The basic flaw I think is in the system that is not being able to identify and nurture the talents at an early stage....people get into sports teams with influence, bribing, seniority etc....that is not the right way to build you infrastructure...and more over we are teaching the kids that you can get anything with influence, bribe etc....and that hardwork is just one of the ways to achieve the goal when on the contrary it should be preached that HARDWORK is the ONLY way to achieve your goals....

I can go on & on....now I can only hope that we win some medals to justify the 1 billion population tag that India has.....

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