INDIA AND THE ULTIMATE OLYMPIC DREAM
July 11 is commemorated each year as World Population day. China and India all know are the most populated countries on earth, to only be followed by USA after a long gap in third place.
Here are the latest official statistics –
1. China population – 1.5 billion
2. India population – 1.2 billion
3. USA population – 310 million
In two weeks the world’s greatest sporting event will take place in London – the Olympics 2012. The best athletes and sportspersons from all over the planet will arrive in this magnificent city to compete for the medals that declare them the best in the world. Billions of eyes will be on them.
USA has always been powerful and dominant in the Olympics, and China has recently risen to show its sporting abilities.
This raises my all important question – Why does India fall so far behind in spite of being so strong in numbers?
As an avid and passionate sports fan and a progressive Indian youth for change, I voice my opinion and put forward this question!
Just like many other glorious dreams that I have for India, somewhere on the top of them is this one – to see India compete at the top level in all popular sports.
The only practical answer to this question that I can think of is that the general public of India couldn’t care less about any other sport besides cricket. For Indians its only cricket, cricket and more cricket. Test cricket, one day cricket, T20 cricket, even gully cricket will be watched more on TV here than an Olympic sport.
While I’m not complaining about cricket and our teams glorious achievements in it (after all we are the reigning world champions of the game – thank god for that) and the heavenly status that our cricketers get over here, I am merely saying why restrict a country of 1.2 billion people to just 1 sport?
There is no lack of talents, Indians are talented and competitive people, but there is a huge lack of drive and infrastructure!
MS Dhoni wanted to be a goalkeeper in his school football team but the popularity, drive, and infrastructure availability made him switch to becoming a wicket keeper of the cricket team instead (again, no complaints about that).
But how come with a prominent I-league for football and massive youth following of the sport, India still doesn’t even make it to the group stages of the FIFA World Cup?
How come Serbia, a country which has a population less than that of New Delhis’ produces a Novak Djokovic, world no 1 tennis player, while the whole of India cant even find one in the top 50?
How come India has produced only one driver who competes in the Formula One with the worlds best racers, and has till date never won a race?
And how come India’s medal tally at the Olympics is miles behind USA or China’s?
Don’t you think its time we started caring and taking interest in this now?
The only solution is the need for appreciation and popularity of these sports that in turn will drive the govt to boost the infrastructure for them. We need to nurture our talent, not shun it or make it join the never ending line of cricket.
We need to broadcast more of the domestic league games and show interest in these other sports, we need to give these budding talents the facilities they need so that they can go out and compete and win medals and trophies for India!
The answer is simple - promote other sports, especially in small towns, enhance the sporting infrastructure, involve more sponsorships and public participation, and aim to get on the global platform and compete with the best in the world!
In the London Olympics this month, countries like Australia with the population of Mumbai will surely win lots of medals in sports like swimming, running, boxing, wrestling.etc. while India will be counting on a few local heroes to bring home probably a medal or two!
I dream of the day that India will not only play in the football world cup or win tons of medals in the Olympics, but also of the day that India is capable enough to host grand events like these. In the bigger scheme of things, it is all connected to our nation’s growth and progress, and it cannot be done by sitting back and resting on our cricketing laurels.
If we shift our focus from blame games and the internal matches of citizens vs. govt. and instead promote our sporting talent to go out and play the real games then we too can be the best of the best. We too can have the world’s best tennis, football and hockey players, the best racers and swimmers, and one day we too can host and maybe also win the football world cup and the Olympics.
Let’s do this!
- Karan Khanna
About the Writer:
Karan is the Author of novel "I FOR INDIA," writing second novel and film screenplays currently, erstwhile businessman.
Connect with Karan on Twitter @thekarankhanna