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Enigmatic India

This blog captures the life experiences of the Enigmatic India team in the beautiful and enigmatic country of India.We capture our experiences through our writings, photos and products that depict the very essence and fabric of India.Through this platform, we invite you to join us in our journey as we explore.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

India and 2012 London Olympics

Finally the 2012 London Olympics is over...spectacular 17 days of sporting events and I managed to catch 3-4 hours of sporting action everyday.

India and Olympics have a very strange relationship...large contingent size and minimal medals have been our tradition for a long time. 2008 Beijing Olympics was when the shackles were broken and we landed up with 3 medals. Since then, there has been an air of expectations from 1.2 billion Indians about our performance in 2012 London Olympics.

Given that we are a nation full of critics - everyday you would find the media critiquing or criticizing the Indian sports system, what our medal tally may be, how we could do better and a lot of other things. It was even interesting when I found an analyst report by "Goldman Sachs" about Olympics and its impact on economies around the world. Even they had predicted the medal tally for the top 50 countries and India figured with 2 golds and overall 5 medals. While everybody was busy probably spared a thought for those Indian atheles who were to participate...under how much pressure they would be under.

I remember, couple of decades back during my schooling days, I was wanted to participate(not sure why) in a shot-put inter-house sporting event. Being new to shot put, I took help of a coach (which my father helped in securing) and in those days I practiced for couple of hours a day. Intense pressure and not naturally being atheletic it added up to the difficulty. At the sametime, we had class tests and the message from my parents were very clear i.e. to "excel in studies". Still,  I was doing well during the practice and knew that only one person Arunabha in the whole school was throwing to a distance longer than mine. Rest assured...silver medal for sure for my school house...Pratap. The day came and in the early morning practice throwing session, I just sprained my wrist...and there went all the preparation...phut. With that all my aspirations ended and never took off.

Probably this represents what many Indian go through...sports was not given importance for a long time and has now only picked up in the country. As a society we are very education focussed and have not spent time in developing our children to excel in other areas...sports, art etc. Probably right...sportsmen never earned monies, neither was it considered a career. Also, who has the money to spend on costs a lot to pursue sports.

Well coming back to our performance at Olympics...I believe it was remarkable what our contingent has achieved...obviously hats off to all the medal winners, however there were a lot of notable exceptions :
1. Vikas Gowda and Krishan Ponnia - who would have thought that an Indian would feature in the top 8 of all world atheletes in discuss throw
2. Irfan Thodi - the 20 km walker. I watched him and what a kind of committment from this young India...For me he was the real star, remember he didnot have running shoes for a long time.
3. Kashyap - Outstanding display of badminton.
4. The boxers and wrestlers...had tough competitors and they should be proud loosing to world champions..

I believe we are going in the right direction...focussing on sports like boxing, wrestling, weight lifting, archery where you can be more inclusive in getting people from Rural India to come and excel. See the list of our atheletes and barring a few most are from rural India.

So, I see that the overall system(though not organized) works...

1. SAI (Sports Authority of India) without whose involvement our fellow countrymen from Rural India would not have got a chance to come up and make us proud.
2. All other sporting bodies.
3. Private bodies like "Quest for Gold", Airtel, Mittals, Tatas etc...who have embraced certain disciplines and developing them
4. Other govt agencies who have sports quota as an employment privilege...this takes off a lot of pressure from earn livelihood
5. Society at large - allowing our children to take up sports.

Finally, I am proud of my fellow Indian athelete who has achieved so much in the 2012 London Olympics, unlike me who is sitting around blogging/critiquing the whole thing. I am sure a lot of more positive and good things will happen over the next few years...


  1. I endorse your view that most of us are chatters who do precious little. That our athletes achieved so much in a culture that does not encourage sports is remarkable.

  2. When we were in school, the whole class used to come down for the classes...only heats...and everyone participated. It's a different thing that I never qualified beyond the heats. We had almost all track and field events shown in Olympics.

    But my kids were seeing a discuss throw, a shot put or a hammer throw for the very first time. They haven't seen any of those in school. Why? Perhaps because too much importance today is put on games such as tennis, basketball, cricket, skating etc...rather than the track and field events. And not everybody participates in such games. There are only select students who participate in such games. I feel the track and field events and the daily exercise during the school assembly was a good idea. Wish schools today would adopt that too. I don't see it happening in many schools here.


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