OLYMPICS: WHY INDIA HAS ALWAYS BEEN BEHIND THE LINE?

“I would not stop till I had filled up a bucket with my sweat. I would push myself so much that in the end I would collapse and I would have to be admitted to hospital, I would pray to God to save me, promise that I would.”
– Late Shri Milkha Singh ji

Every sports person around the world wants to achieve the highest glory in sports by securing an Olympic medal, as it is considered as the most competitive and oldest championship for sportspersons worldwide. Even our most cherished sprinter Late Shri Milkha singh ji saw this dream to bring medal for India in Olympics but missed by a whisker in 1960 Rome Olympics. In lieu of the dream, players devote their time and money for more than a decade to come at par with players around the world and compete them.India, after independence has participated in 18 Olympic Events but the performance have not been equivalent to even the countries who gained Independence at the same juncture as India. The Sorry state of affairs for the Olympic preparedness can be attributed towards several factors. One such being “Sports vis-à-vis education”, people in India do not consider sports being a profitable field and thus try to restrain their children from opting any sports such as wrestling, judo, swimming, etc. as a career option, Instead they force their children towards being doctor or engineer. The Second factor is “Lack of Political will”, from years we have seen lack of adequate funds for even the players who represent the country in International Events. Dutee chand, Ace Sprinter who qualified for 2016 Rio Olympics stated “My main concern is to acquire a new pair of spike shoes, as mine are worn out. The running shoes are quite expensive, and I request the state government to provide a set of tracksuit and a pair of running shoes so that I could give my best performance.” This statement came at a time when Target Olympics Podium Scheme was already flagged off in 2014, but its implementation was stagnant. There have been development in the political will since 2016 Rio Olympics, after which various sports federations have been revived and Sports Budget have been raised significantly in 2019-20 Budget. The third factor is “Lack of Social Outlook”, India is a developing country where significant number of people are below poverty line, who fight for even two times of meal in a day. People are struggling for employment and society has also absorbed the same kind of tendency. Even today, First salary from of an Engineer son or daughter is valued more in society rather than an Olympic medal. An observation of this situation after Inception of 21st century reveals that there has been change in this outlook. After the drought of an Olympic gold for 28 Years, when Abhinav Bindra won Gold at Beijing olympics, it acted as an eye opener for the Indian Society. The Olympic medals won by Two women ( Sakshi Malik and P.V Sindhu) at Rio De Janeiro gave a boost to women empowerment in India.There are other numerous factors, which play an important role in reducing the chances of India getting Olympic medal but India has been taking long strides since 2014 in strengthening its sports infrastructure and providing every facility and equipment to the potential players. We have seen improvement in performances of players through other international tournaments. Hopes are high and fingers are crossed for the Indian Contingent for Tokyo Olympics 2021.