The Great Indian Olympic Debacle

The 30th Olympic Games have drawn to a close in London. India won an unprecedented SIX medals making this the nation's best-ever Olympic performance in history! Congratulations to those athletes! But still, all those performances were more on individual merit rather than on the country's merit. Very simply put, what part did the country, the people and more importantly, the Government play in them achieving this feat? As a blogger friend put it, "Do we deserve even a Bronze?" No, I don't think so. All those achievements of those athletes were the result of years of endless sacrifice and training and they deserve it only for themselves. We, all of us, have played no part in their achievement and don't even deserve to celebrate. Their victory is almost personal, for their hearts only.

Every time an internationally significant sporting event like the Olympics, Football World Cup etc come around, armchair pundits and bimbos get up in the morning, put on their makeup and start the ridiculous cry of "Why can't a country of 1.2 billion (120 crore) people win more medals?" like an irritatingly broken record. Some would blame Cricket, which totally is one of the reasons for the sports-drought our country faces but is not the only one. It is a combination of factors, forming a rotten dog-eat-dog system that our country finds itself in, complementing each other to form a complete circle, a closed loop. A mass of hypocrisy, a decaying education system, zero-focus on health and fitness, finger-pointing, culture and so on. In fact, it is so complicated that it is impossible to determine where it starts and where it ends. But there is one thing that can be said for certain. It is the attitude of our people that is the driving force behind all this, the cause or engine of the rot that plagues Indian Sports. Everything else is effect. Everyone is responsible, the Government, me, you, society and everyone else.

We are a nation of 800 people crammed into every square kilometer of land in the country. This overpopulation leads to extreme competition among people to corner limited available resources for themselves first. In other words, people have to make as much money as possible in the easiest, fastest and risk-free manner possible. Sports? Ptah! Who has time for all that time-wasting nonsense? This general apathy of the people is the reason for our medal-draught. Let us face it, you cannot become a sportsperson in India. Even though kids may be talented and interested in a sports career, there is no interest, push and support from anyone except for a few stray enthusiasts. Never from the Government, schools, sponsors, clubs and of course, parents. Forget sports, all parents are dead against their children taking up anything but plain-vanilla academics that will deliver them arrow straight into a professional career. The result is for all to see in our hordes of unemployed, disinterested and useless B.Tech Victims. This ancient and rotten education system is in fact, is the single most largest reason for not only the pathetic condition Indian sports find themselves in, but also why we are a country of unproductive, irrational and uninspiring people though we have the potential to do wonders have not come up with even one single world-changing achievement or institution that we can boast of. We are conceived, bred and trained to provide services to the rest of the world and not to critically think and make a name for ourselves. This is why we don't have a Facebook from India.

The 1.2 Billion People Question

Let me ask a question to those who raise the mathematical ratio of medals per 1.2 billion. Aren't you also part of said 1.2 billion? So, what have you done on your part to decrease the number of decimal points in that ratio? Discuss in your living room? Shout on hollow TV debates? Tweet? Post patriotic status messages on Facebook? Are you exclusive of other Indians? Well, of course, we want our kids to "study" and get into IITs and IIMs and get high paying jobs abroad. Even if not, become B.Tech victims or Nurses and become some sort of professionals abroad, no matter how pathetic their life there might be out there. And no one is ready to make any sacrifices of course. Want to win medals for India? Someone else's kids will do it. Safeguard the country's borders? Someone else will all join the Army. Govern the country? All those other (corrupt) people will join politics. We will not even vote but crib about them. All that we do is to play all those games trying for that next corporate promotion and sit in our living rooms and with all our arrogance comment about the state of our country, as we are the ones who know best how to run the country. Tell me, how many of you will willingly send your kids for a sports career? I know many people from school and college who were very talented at many sports but ended up B.Tech Victims.

No one wants anything to do for the country, be it sports or not. All that people here want to do is accumulate as much money as possible in their bank accounts and mattresses and talk about their rights but keep mum about their duties. The only interest people have is to somehow leave the country and "settle" in the West. People also talk about lacking infrastructure and interest. But imagine what if the Government built world-class infrastructure and stadiums but no one comes to train in them? This is India. Whatever has mass support works here, and hence none of this will change anytime soon. And even if some of our athletes do make it to the Olympics, our support for them is completely dependent on their winning. Our tribal ways of thought do not recognize failure, and when they do fail we mock, deride and even abuse them, not even looking at the incredible lifetime hardship they endured swimming against the torrent of a system that tries to drown them at every stroke to reach where they are. Those "predictions" of India winning heaps of Gold medals in the 2020 Olympics can only be seen as an enormous joke.

Everything said and done, Government apathy is also majorly responsible, along with lack of sponsors, support etc. And this system is so deep-rooted that unless it is Cricket, nobody gives a damn about any sports in India among those who should encourage and sponsor them, because there is no money to be made. Take the case of Irfan Thodi, the guy who finished 10th in the 10km walk breaking the National record in the process. He didn't get much coverage in our the maggot-infested carcass that is our media. The sad thing is that he didn't even have money to buy his own shoes and participated in the Olympics thanks to the generosity of Malayalam actor Mohanlal. And then there is the case of Mary Kom, who is from Manipur, a place many people don't even know is a part of India. All those factors feed into each other, refusing us medals and anything else substantial as a nation, making us keep on searching for a National identity for something to be proud about for many decades to come. We do not even have a genuine sporting culture. Hard to have, when the sole culture we do have is one where everyone wants to become a Software Engineer and go to America. Unless we change our ways, we will be like this only.

Yes, this is totally an "Indian" thing. How many world-class athletes do you see of Indian origin? Even four generations after emigrating from India, Indians want their kids only to become engineers and doctors.

Now imagining a conversation between the Varma, Pinto and Nair families, upper middle class, gathered at the Varma's 3BHK to watch the Olympics on their new 129 cm (51") Samsung Plasma TV.

Mr.Varma: "On God. Now the hockey team is out of the race. That leaves us with only one more chance to win a medal. This is pathetic"

Mr.Pinto: "Yeah I agree. Horrible. Why can't a country of 1.2 billion people win more medals? This corrupt government is not making us win any medals!"

Mrs.Nair: "This is all the problem with our society and system I tell you. No one encourages people to take up sports. The Government should do something to encourage people, and train children to compete in world class events.

Mrs.Pinto: "I totally agree with you Latha. It is sad that the Government is not taking up any initiative for this. They should start training children from childhood. That is how China does it. Look how far ahead they are of us!"

Mr. Nair: "Even Kazakhstan has got 5 Gold medals! We should atleast win 10. If not children, the Government can even pick up already talented people and train them. Like the fishermen who are good at rowing."

Mr.Varma: "That is a great idea! Why don't we have any intelligent people in the government? Hell, you should have been there! Damn, that is a great idea! But where is the infrastructure?"

Arjun, the Nairs' 5th standard-studying son appears with a football in his hands.

"Amme, can I go and play? Our building team is waiting for me."

Mrs.Nair: "Haven't you got a class test next week? You scored only 9.5/10 last time. This time, you must get 10 on 10, no excuses. Go and study for it. Play and all during vacations only."

Arjun leaves the scene crestfallen and mumbling.

Mrs.Nair: "See this play and all is good. But not at the expense of studies. Let him score marks first. What is the use of wasting time playing and all at this age?"

Mrs.Pinto: "Yeah, I agree. Stephen also wants to play Tennis all the time. He has his boards coming up next month. His life depends on that. He has to get into IIT, else his life will be ruined. He cannot waste time playing when he can use it to do JEE coaching. We have told him he is no Roger Federer. "

Mr.Verma: "Michelle, I too think we should encourage children to play sports, but yes, not at the expense of studies. Sandhya loves swimming, but we stopped her from going for training after she slipped to 3rd in class. It is not worth it. What will these kids achieve by  playing? They should get a good job abroad to make it in life, after which they can do whatever they want. Kids don't understand that..."

Mrs.Verma enters the scene and looks at the TV

"Oh no. Another medal chance gone? Oh God."

Mr.Nair: "Yes... We were also discussing the same thing. The Government should encourage sports to make our country the best...."

Hypocrites. The biggest enemies of this Nation is its people themselves, not some neighboring country.

P.S. Updated for the Rio 2016 Olympics. Wash, Rinse, Repeat.

  • Abhishek G

    While I agree it’s a collective responsibility of Parents, Society & the Government to foster a sporting culture. I would give Govt a long rope as we are (still) struggling with existential issues of food, health & education. Sport being a enabler requires similar investment in infrastructure. While we want Govt to do more, we don’t want a scheme like RG Gold Medal Jeeth Yojna or something in those lines to line the pockets of the people administering the fund.

    Parents & Society that’s a whole different ball-game.

  • nikes

    Some of your reasons are to the point…but having said that, I do feel that in a system like ours, parents would be apprehensive about any sporting careers, barring cricket. The need is to develop other sporting infrastructrure and a system wherby those that are unable to make the mark are coopted by the state, post career..Following something like the chinese model is not only unessccary, it is also not worth ruining childhoods and numerous lives just for a olympic medal…

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