Guess how many medals India won at the Olympics’2012?
83 Gold medals.
Yes, let me reiterate – EIGHTY THREE GOLD MEDALS.
83 Indian Athletes contested in 13 Sports in this London Olympics.
To all those who ask, a Billion People and yet no Gold medal? I ask you back, so what sport are you encouraging your children to take up at least as a hobby, if not professionally. Mostly the answer is Cricket or at best shot, Tennis. Why? Because you see MONEY in these sports. Or you just want them to be physically fit so that they might give you that 99percentile that you as a student didn’t get.
Most of these sportsmen who took part in this Olympics or for that matter since 1900 are 22 Carat Gold’s. These guys have given all they have – Time, Money, Future, Physical Sustenance and more. They have lived in poverty, no fame, no proper sporting gear and as some cases go – maybe not proper food to meet their physical requirements. Look, I’m not bashing up Cricket here saying, that it’s taken all the limelight and money. If Cricket has done it, it deserves it! That sport too was born as an orphan from the British Empire and look where the BCCI, Govt of India and you fans have taken. Give it credit and look how other sports should be developed in that line.
Back to the 83 athletes, the funding they have received is from the Indian Government to the tune of $48.1 million and an additional $11 million in private sponsorships to prepare for the Olympics. That’s nearly $1.40 million per athlete unequally distributed over 4-5 years. That’s like $0.35 Million a year/athlete. Which is peanuts compared to what any other country in the top 10 GDPs in the world spend. (India is 3rd biggest GDP (PPP) nation in the world as per IMF-2011)
And among these Olympic sports - Tennis and Hockey or AITA and Hockey India are the golden goose in terms of popularity with the public, not taking funding as the cue. These two associations are semi-organized , have won major World Tournaments and Olympic medals in the past. But what happened? They fought and had warring factions within themselves. Hey! Where did “Nation First” ideology go? Maybe, minus these guys from the 83 Gold Medalists we had this year.
As Indian Citizens, as sports fan of this country, we should do our bit. Not just yell at the sports officials and sportsmen every Olympic year but encourage them throughout by following the various competitions they take part in, let it be boxing, wrestling, swimming, rowing or Judo. They deserve your respect and encouragement because they REPRESENT you. Petition the government, write in the media and maybe even blog about how we need better infrastructure to make us a sporting nation to be admired at. Out of a billion we will have more than 100 medalists if we can choose them, train them, fund them and more importantly encourage them.
As the author Sidin tweeted to our sports minister Ajay Maken – “Please take medalists around the country to schools and colleges. Inspire the next generation. Let kids touch those medals” – that should be our first step.
Hail the medalists who fought through all odds to win 6 medals for India this time, the best ever in our History. Give them the Arjuna Awards. More importantly make sure they don’t die because they didn’t have money for their 2 square meals or medicines. These guys are your Ratna’s. Make more of them and compete fairly.