Olympics, undoubtedly the most sought after and talked about sports event concluded recently in Rio, Brazil. Unfortunately, India couldn't make its presence count barring couple of face saving medals won by two amazing talented girls P V Sindhu and Sakshi Malik.
What's the reason behind such performance disasters in a global event like Olympics? If India can win World Cup in Cricket, then why not in others? Is it due to lack of talent in Indian athletes, are they not train-able, are they not hungry for medals, are they not having skills to compete at global level? I think, these can't be valid reasons. Why do we always blame and not introspect?
Why it's always sports person who is held responsible in losing cause? Why sports management is set free from such blames? More importantly, why not to blame the entire country for not having strong culture of sports?
Let's talk about the country's overall orientation and culture towards sports. Whenever, we meet others, how many times we ask the well being of other's children in terms of their performance in sports? The normal question would be that which school your child is attending, which class, how is he scoring, etc. Do we ever start the discussion with asking about the interest of his child in sports. We definitely ask how much time his child devotes on studies but we rarely ask how much time he practices for sports.
As parents, we always prioritize studies for our children and want them to excel in academics. Sports is always left out to be done during liesure but there shouldn't be any compromise with studies.
As a result of this strong academic culture, Indian scientists constitute 33% of entire team of NASA and India has the largest number of Doctors, Engineers and other highly qualified people produced. If we don't prioritize sports over academics then why do we expect good performance in Olympics.
Unlike Cricket, other sports in India lacks due respect, glamour and money to promote people to come and take up sports as their career. Instead, many times people take up sports to secure their jobs in some or other field based on sports quota because they feel unsecured due to financial obligations and prefer prioritizing jobs over core sports.
Few initiatives like Kabaddi and Badminton leagues have really worked well in earning respect and recognition to players and results are positive. Today, Hockey is also in much better shape as compared with a decade ago in terms of overall promotion, respect and recognition which has resulted into some performances in recent Olympic worth mentioning.
Lack of proper infrastructure is another major lacuna in developing sports in country. Unless, you are in big cities and can spend money on availing sports infrastructure and coaching services, it's really difficult to expect the major transition in performance in Olympics.
So, in a nutshell, it requires a holistic approach towards developing a strong sporting nation that includes our focus, interest, priority, attitude and all possible facilities. Till then, we can only expect few miracles to happen and save our faces in grand events.