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Lessons From Olympics
Lessons from Olympics 2012
India sent 83 participants to compete in 13 sports events for the 2012 Olympics at London. Our final tally is six medals , two silver , one by Vijay Kumar in men’s 25 m rapid fire pistol event and Sushil Kumar in the men’s 66 kg free style wrestling , a back to back winner of Olympic medals, and four bronze, Saina Nehwal in badminton women’s singles, Gagan Narang in the 10 meter air rifle, Mary Kom in boxing women’s flyweight category. Though far below our own expectations we have improved our medal tally in Olympics and the best ever performance by India.
All the six proud winners were probably made to catch the next available plane back to India. After all, their work there is over and no point expending money on their further stay there. Other sports persons not lucky enough to be in the podium would have been sent back too the moment their progress in the games came to a halt. Whether the Indian sports administrators ,netas and the babus, who were sent to manage the show in London followed suit is however unknown. They are known to be life long learners and are keen to know more about the running of sports and to improve Indian sports. Their enthusiasm is doubled when the government pays for it. To this end they would get in touch with leading sports industrialists who are professional and who are also pliable during negotiations. After all we lack infrastructure needed to make us really competitive. Astro turfs, swimming pools, cycle tracks, bats and balls and the list is never ending. They would like to do their best in an expeditious manner , before 2014, after which they feel the country may miss out on the valuable knowledge gained by them for the improvement of Indian sport to outdo 2012 in 2016. This is patriotism at its best and this is utterly lacking in the honest tax payer. He or she cringes and refuses to part with an extra pie that is so needed for uplift of sports. Instead it is considered a right to know along with the list of all winners and losers the duration of their stay along with the list of such avid learners who made the trip and the cost of this learning experience. Such publication of a list would remove from the public’s mind any suspicion regarding diversion of funds into one’s own pocket which is of course unthinkable in case of our netas of such high moral pedigree descended from Mahathma, the father of the nation.
In the meanwhile I ponder about events past and think of methods to improve sports in the country helpful in maintenance of health and to inculcate the sporting spirit in our countrymen, all these at a reasonable cost. At this juncture I may touch upon few of my thoughts in this regard.
We took part in 13 sports events. We made our mark only in four : wrestling, rifle shooting, boxing and badminton. In the other 10 we were just also ran. Is it not time to curtail the number of participants and the events of participation. My choice would be wrestling , boxing, and shooting. These sports must be given all encouragement to enable more people to participate in it. Shooting, apart from gaining medals at Olympics this would create an entire army of sharp shooters who will also be handy when the real need arises in future conflicts with our friendly neighbors with aman ki asha sparkling in their eyes. This is a sport with a purpose. Same is true with boxing and wrestling. Barring china , we and our other neighbors, considering our economy, are likely to run out of arms in any prolonged war. Since the fight must go on we are left with only hand to hand fighting. At this juncture the skill in the above three will give us an edge. With China we can only resort to the use of our discretion and start learning Chinese right away.
I am not in favor of badminton for Olympics. I watched keenly many of the badminton games where Chinese participated. China is not likely to be surpassed in this event for a long time to come. It does not mean that we should abandon this or other sports. We can hold national events on a wider scale to ascertain the best in the country and give them suitable rewards which we are doing anyway in the country.
Hockey especially must revert to our original national style and older rules. The way it is played now leaves no scope for the skilled dribbling practiced by Dyanchand. The westerners have changed the rules of the game to suit their superior physical strength. We will never beat them in this. Mind you, we drew a complete blank in all the qualifiers. Is it not enough to show us where we stand. Old rules and no need for astro turf etc. Let us take our hockey to our un-ploughed fields playing where our Dyanchands arose and pocketed Olympic golds in the past. Let the foreigners come and compete with us on our terms . We will show them what we can do.
Archery has a long history in the country. We are good at it. To prove our prowess, we can do it locally. At the most we may invite participants from neighboring countries and pitch our skills against theirs. This will be again handy in filling a gap between the exhaustion of modern arms and hand to hand fighting in real war to which I referred earlier.
Boating is another event we are not bad at. Almost at the time of Olympics , a great event , probably reported only in the vernacular paper, the Jawaharlal Nehru Boat race, the snake boat race at Aleppy in Kerala was on. Specially crafted boats 100 ft long rowed by up to 100 boatmen was never thought of by the Olympic managers. It is a test of boating skill with beauty and music added to it to enhance its beauty.It must be developed into a national sport. Let the foreigners come and compete with us and we will show that they will never strike gold here.
So forget about gold at Olympics. Why bother about it when we can strike it here right in our backyards without in anyway diminishing the beneficial effects produced by sports. After all sports is for the development of the mind and body. We have enough avenues to practice it here within the country. Let us put a question mark on Olympics 2016.
Dr T N Vasudevan