This Olympic in China in 2008 was one with a difference… Our highest Medal grosser the hockey team did not even qualify the same. Then there was a huge cry over this. Many people came out of their slumber about the decaying state of hockey in the country. Hockey being the national game [which is sic] attention should be given to it. The hockey team in its golden years was unbeaten in the Olympics for six years. Thereafter also we did not do a bad show.
- 1928 – Amsterdam, Netherlands
- 1932 – Los Angeles, USA
- 1936 – Berlin, Germany
- 1948 – London, UK
- 1952 – Helsinki, Finland
- 1956 – Melbourne, Australia
- 1960 – Rome, Italy
- 1964 – Tokyo, Japan
- 1968 – Mexico City, Mexico
- 1972 – Munich, Germany
- 1980 – Moscow, Russia
The medals dried up, literally. And maybe due to the spirit of socialism, we were never good in individual games. Although we did get some medals in hockey, if not gold, the other individual medals were never there. You can literally count them on the tips of your fingers [and I am not joking]. Here are the individual medals by Indians in the Olympics in the last 108 years of history.
Norman Pritchard||1900 Paris
||Men’s 200 metres
Norman Pritchard||1900 Paris
||Men’s 200 metre hurdles
Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav||1952 Helsinki
||Men’s freestyle bantamweight
Leander Paes||1996 Atlanta
Karnam Malleswari||2000 Sydney
||Women’s 69 kg
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore||2004 Athens
||Men’s double trap
So that before 2008 there are only 6 medals, which I guess you can count with your finger tips, so I was not joking. Mind you there were no medals, any type, between 1980 and 1996 till Leander Paes broke the jinx. What was the government doing then? I mean a nation with second largest population in the world doing so badly in the Olympics and nobody felt anything, nobody did anything? What can be the reasons for this, if not bureaucracy? The officials and the ministers who are related to the Department of Sports are not accountable for what happened. The bureaucrats were secure in their air conditioned offices for the job they would do till the end of their term, while ministers even when changed did not try to bring about change that was desperately needed. They have attained nirvana, if not this Olympics, the next one, which is just 4 years away. I guess the slogan was हम होंगे कामयाब but no body tried. But for a sportsperson it is an different scenario, in four years the world entirely changes, the same form cannot persist for four years, unless you are exceptionally talented. But given the conditions that our sports facilities are in, who will persist with their current form? I have also heard that we have more “Olympic Officials”, who are supposed to be more important than the players themseleves, in the Games. For the babus it is a state sponsored international holiday. And the people who adopt sports as a career, they say, “Do not have a future.”
I think apart from the omnipresent bureaucracy, we our society as a whole, have failed our sportspeople. The encouragement and respect that people in sports get in India is way below, what they should be getting and deserve [Exception being cricket].
Things were drastic during this Olympics. Our old work horse, the national game, Hockey team did not even qualify for the Olympics. It was too late for our Olympic Association that the world has advanced much too far away from us, and we have to speed up. The first step was to remove KPS Gill, the old man who controlled [literally] the Indian Hockey scenario. This step should have been taken long ago. They say Gill destroyed two things, terrorism in Punjab and hockey in the nation. Lets see what results does thus bring. I hope for the best!!
As for the 2008 Olympics, even though veterans could not perform, the youngsters showed the way. Starting from Bindra the jinx was broken. The others who just failed to register a medal, require equal appreciation. They tried their bast but, somehow did not manage it. But alas dudes I am with you…
Some of the people who could not steal the limelight, but were there are [apologies for the omissions]:
and many others whom I have failed to list… And for the hereos here they are Vijender Kumar Sushil Kumar
You guys will be heroes for generations to come…
But will it make a difference in the next Olympics?
I guess the best bet would be to release the spirit of The Game from Babus who do not understand The Game. Out source it, corporates should take interest in this sector and should be given the responsibility of preparing our sports people for the next games…
Adios and best of luck till next time…