Why does a country as big as India fail to produce top class athletes?

by Harsh Vardhan Posted on

118 sportsperson are representing India in the ongoing Rio Olympics. It may be true that this is India’s biggest ever contingent ever in Olympics. But Why In a country of one billion people, we cannot find sportsmen of better potential who can compete and make India Proud.

One of the reasons may be due to lack of support by family to Indians. Parents in India still are not broad minded as they think there is no future in sports. They believe that sport is good for a hobby and believe in Doctors,Engineers or CA as profession.

Our success as an academically-oriented people proves that we are excellent at pursuing something that pays well or, at least, regularly; to a lesser extent. So does India’s obsession with cricket. Indians crave security. Our repeated exposure to hardship and poverty makes us desperate to escape it by seeking, more than anything else, a source of income for life.In the relatively short history of free India, education and work have been the recommended ways to make money and live somewhat happily ever after. Sport has never been the horse an average Indian would want to bet his proverbial ‘dhoti’ on. For India to win more Olympic medals, this must change. If India has to become a sports heavyweight, sport must become a middle class pursuit. Right now, only cricket, acquiring a university degree and work indisputably are. A cursory look at the medal winners for India in the last four Olympics will illustrate what I mean.Leander Paes hails from a prosperous family.

Karnam Malleswari, however, took to the hard grind of weightlifting as a means to give herself and her kin a better life. On the other hand, Colonel Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore was an Army man with access to world class training and nurturing from an early age. Abhinav Bindra, too, belongs to an affluent Sikh family. But Sushil Kumar Tehlan’s and Vijender Singh’s fathers were both bus drivers.None of these medal winners are part of the ‘Great Indian middle class.’ Only the very poor or the very well off in India feel motivated enough (for entirely different reasons) to focus on competitive sports apart from cricket and studies. This is the prime reason India does not win very many medals at the Olympics, and other world level competitions.

Moreover there is lack of freedom and lots of discrimination which exists during the selection of the players which is one of the valid reasons for not providing and selecting best players for any tournament.Even after having so much talent and determination, athletes aren’t able to make it  to the finals because of lack of support and lack of funds..As per athletes “The government doesn’t provide them shoes, they have to buy on their own. They don’t give equipment during training or competition. They have to buy everything on their own.”

In terms of the disparity between population size and medals won, there is no worse Olympic performer than India. It seems bizarre that a country of more than 1.2 billion people can only collect an average of less than one medal per Games.

Its time for both government as well as parents to take the initiative.Only then the total Count can Change.

Author

Harsh Vardhan

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