The social media outraged when news came that marathon runner OP Jaisha didn’t get water at booths installed for Indian runners. It was alleged that there was insensitivity from Indian officials. She said that she didn’t get water and energy drinks during the race under scorching heat and due to which she nearly died while running.
That very day AFI clarified that they asked coach of OP Jaisha whether she wants personalised drinks/refreshments during her run and she replied no. People still didn’t believe in AFI side of story.
A few hours later came statement from Kavita Raut, the other marathon runner, that she didn’t face any such issue. People dismissed her statement saying that she is under pressure and giving statement against AFI might ruin her career.
Now her coach, Nikolai has come forward and clarified that AFI official has asked him about personalised drink and he said no to it as OP Jaisha herself had said no to it. He also stressed the point earlier made by AFI official that she has not used personalised drink in any of the race since he started coaching her and was alway satisfied with the water arrangement by organisers.
May be it was Rio Olympics marathon organiser who didn’t perform their duty well and didn’t provide sufficient water at booths which has to be provided by them and not by Indian officials.
People in India didn’t wait for the facts to come out and made AFI officials “The Villains” . Sometimes we don’t wait for facts to come out and outrage and when the truth comes out and we are proven wrong , we don’t believe in sharing the truth with others.
Piers Morgan , British journalist, had some fun at India’s expense. He mocked ‘over the top’ celebration of two losing medals by India. Some rightly responded to him in equal measures, Virender Sehwag being on the front foot.
Of course, Piers wouldn’t understand why Indians celebrated winning two medals. When we strive for something and we get it, however less in number, then that becomes dearer to us. Same is the case with Olympic medals that’s why we celebrated it. Any first needs to be celebrated; PV Sindhu became first Indian women to win a silver Medal and Sakshi Malik is the first women wrestler to win an olympic medal and that needs to be celebrated. Once we start winning like USA (imagine if that day comes in our lifetime) there won’t be any celebration for winning silver and bronze.
Piers Morgan might have intention to insult us but he has a point. A country of 1.2 billion people celebrating 2 medals looks embarrassing to the world outside India. I may be misconstrued here, I am not saying we shouldn’t acknowledge or praise athletes who have won Silver or Bronze, we must be proud of those athletes but we must also be ashamed of our sporting system in our country that humilitaes us at international events.
We may say that winning Olympic medal was not our priority that’s why we don’t do well but when you participate in international events these excuses doesn’t work. Either you win or you lose, what matters is winning Gold ( if you want be a champion ) so world wouldn’t care that you have come out of a rotten system and being in Olympics is itself an achievement for you, all they care about is performance. You will be judged on how many Golds have you won. They will always see us as a country of 1.2 billion people performing badly at Olympics.
So these mocking comments should not bother us and if it does, we should encourage/help our siblings,children, fellow citizens to pick up sports as career ( if they are good at it) and beat the shit out of at least Britain in coming Olympics. Britain doesn’t have Phelps,Bolts of the World, beating them is not that difficult.
For the last 16 days , people from all over the world marveled at performances of athletes showcasing human excellence at Olympics.
India , country of 1.25 billion people, have ended their #Rio2106 campaign with just 2 medal. As expected, it has again forced people in India to ponder on why our athletes don’t perform well at Olympics.
There are many countries who have successfully changed their fortunes at Olympics and among all, how China did it is most talked about. Chinese model has been dissected many a times so let me take you to what Great Britain did to change their fortunes at Olympics.
The headline news from Britain will leave many Indians (who wake up during olympics and ask why we don’t win medals) startled. It is said that each medal at Rio Olympics has cost Britain approximately £5.5 million. This is staggering amount of money when compared to what India spends on its athletes. We belive in awarding athletes when they have won Olympic medal despite going through our rotten system. We don’t belive in investing in athletes who if nurtured can become future stars.
Coming back to Great Britain story. There is more than money that Great Britain is doing to get medals. I am highlighting what steps were followed by them that led to such a change in two decade ( from 36th in the medal table at 1996 Atlanta Olympics to 2nd in 2016 Rio Olympics)
UK Sport spends 2/3 amount of money allocated for sports development on athletes aged between 14 to 25 to have a long term impact i.e to raise standards of athletes to international level. For immediate results, they invested in what they called ‘podium level athletes’. PLA are those athletes who have either performed well at Senior World Championship or are considered talented enough to have major impact in coming Olympics. Above steps gave them both immediate success and ensured that future stars are too taken care of.
They also brought in a method to reward sports bodies as per their performances. They gave them a target of number of medals for every Olympics and funded them accordingly. If they failed to get the targeted number of medals, their funds were cut. This gave clear signal to sports bodies that they should either perform or perish.
Ofcourse , above mentioned methods have their perils too but if we want to improve our standings in medal table, this model with some modifications should be immediately adopted in India.
People attached to sports like Badminton,Shooting, Boxing, Archery and Wrestling etc should be given more priority and funds for immediate success as they are producing players of international standards one after another and need just a push to produce medal winners at Olympics.
For example India doesn’t have ( or may be just has one) an AC indoor practice court for wrestlers. Providing it would certainly make a difference in practice hours of wrestlers and will produce results for India. On an average,in oppressive heat of India, at outdoor practice courts wrestlers can practice efficiently for approximately half an hour where as in AC indoor court their efficient practice time can increase to more than three hours. This change can certainly lead to more medals at wrestling that has 18 gold medals up for grab. Similar push is required in Badminton, Boxing, Archery and Shooting where India already has skilled players and they just need a bit of financial and infra support to be medal winners.
Funding Podium level athletes and meeting their requirements should also be followed. Players like Dipa Karmakar, Kidambi Srikanth, Atanu Das, Aditi Ashok, Manish Singh Rawat, Gurmeet Singh etc needs to be taken care of as they are closest to be a medal winner. Preparing them well could easily land few medals for India at next Olympics. How India lack in this can be seen from the fact that demand of women physio from medal prospects like Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik were denied and was given to Dipa Karmakar only when she reached in the final. How can we expect these athletes to be at their best when their support staffs are missing ?
Big change that needs to be done is change in the functioning of sports bodies in India. Most of them are highly inefficient. Highly inefficient is actually appreciation for them, the term that should be used for them is rotten.They give more priority to power politics and welfare of themselves than to improving environment and infra for players. Recent example of their apathy is when administrators/officials flew business class and made athletes to fly in economy class, as if administrators/officials have gone to strive for medals. In contrast, Britain made sure that their athletes who have greater chance of winning medal flew business class and administrators and other athletes in economy class. Athletes flying in economy class is not a big issue but it certainly displays where the priority lies.
How Sports Authority of India is run in our country is another puzzle that needs to be solved immediately. There are many things that needs to be done and many model that can be followed to change the fortunes of India at Olympics but all this will fail if attitude of our society doesn’t change towards sport and fitness ( I will leave that discussion for some other day. )
P.S ~ Last time when we tried to follow Britain model, it took us to near disaster (Parliametary and bureaucratic model and that has been a failure to say least) but I still believe following Britain model in sports can certainly help in medium term.
In his childhood, Abhinav Bindra was a fat boy. He was usual chubby boy who could not play any sport. His parents always pestered him to go out and play. To avoid the constant pestering of parents, he chose shooting as a sport. He thought that shooting would be easy of all sport because there was no running involved and all a person has to do is stand and shoot.
Of course, he was wrong as shooting is as much draining as any other sport but look, how a decision to be lazy changed his and India’s fortunes.
He has traveled long way since then, He has won Four Gold, two silver, one bronze medal in Commonwealth games, One Gold in World Shooting Championship, One Silver and two Bronze medals in Asian Games for India. And above all, how can we forgot the Gold medal that he won at Beijing Olympics. Thanks for providing India her moment of glory by winning India’s lone Individual Olympic Gold Medal at Beijing. Thanks for giving us one of the most memorable moments of our life.
His legacy is not just these medals that he won but the inspiration that he provided to generation of Indian shooters to strive for glory. His journey is worth remembering, and the path that he set is worth following.
As he walks,without any fuss, into the sunset, one thing is certain that he will be sorely missed.
Goodbye Champion. Thanks for memories