India has only won 28 medals in all the Olympic Games it has participated in since 1900. In the last five Olympics, India has managed to win 14 medals and only one gold.
Why is it that we don’t have a world-class Basketball team from the one billion plus Indians? Why is Hockey dying in India? Why have we failed to win the second individual Gold medal? Are we destined for mediocrity and should accept it and move on?
While the debate and embarrassment exist for a few weeks after every Games, it vaporizes into thin air soon except for the school essays and college debates.
Talents are unrecognized, is the basic answer to all these questions. If so, why does this happen? Those who are ready to swim against the waves in Indian Sports are never known unless they start getting into the news by their hard work and a strong belief in themselves.
The situation is quite alarming.
The fact that India is a sport-loving nation can be gauged from the fact that there are multiple channels and publications dedicated to sports. However, the irony is that most of the sports coverage is skewed.
As Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore once said, “I love cricket too, but unless there is focus on Olympic sports, no youngster will never start playing them.”
The government has demonstrated its intention to increase India’s sporting profile globally. However, whether these steps will lead to in the foreseeable future is another thing altogether. We can only remind the government of providing the players with suitable facilities and infrastructure.
What we as individuals can do is to change the way we think.
We need to support our athletes more consistently and we need to do so by following sport consistently. Of course, the Olympics are special, but till we start giving sport some attention throughout the year, there will be little reason for us to celebrate.
Let’s give sports a chance.
The Bridge is here to bring about a change in the sports ecosystem and most importantly, a change in you. We have a billion people in this country; it is just the matter of identifying the right talent and training them. The change can’t come alone.
A start has been made and there is a glimmer of a hope to change the script that has starved Indian sports for so long. The signs are positive.
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