Monday, August 13, 2012

London Olympics - Reflections

The Olympics-2012 in London came to a close yesterday. Sushil Kumar winning a silver medal in the free wrestling competition in 66 Kg category gave an euphoria among all the Indians and as usual the media showered praises and some ascertained how  it was clear from the beginning. His bout with the Kazakhstan wrestler was indeed breath taking. I as an Indian too stood up to give a standing ovation. It was not just for Sushil, for many Indian athletes I felt emotional 

Sushil Kumar after the silver medal win - Courtesy India Today        too. When the mother of two and the one from the sidelined  society of North East won a bronze medal, I said "Bravo'. What touched me more was when she said " I am sorry that I could not get a gold for my country". 

London Olympics 2012 Badminton: Fighting Kashyap goes down to no.1 seed Lee Chong WeiWhat was more exciting was Yogeshwar Dutt's matches, though he could manage only a bronze. In 60 Kg category he had to win in repechage method after losing to the Russian, Besik Kudukhov in the pre-quarter final. In his bout for bronze he had to show his grit in 45 minutes by facing 3 opponents.  This bronze symbolized valor in my opinion than that of the bronze won by Saina. Yes, we are happy as Indians but to get a medal because of one's injury is not a great thing to celebrate. I know even Saina will approve this observation. 

Courtesy Zee News

When the contingent of 83 from the Indian continent went to London our media started the hypes. One called the program as "Go for Gold" while the other major channel called it " Gold Rush". True everyone rushed for gold but no one garnered it. The dedicated songs and emotional outbursts are common phenomenon in Indian sports courtesy Indian mass media. Not just hypes but many times promoting a few as the most probables and leaving others. 

India's silver medal winner Vijay Kumar poses with his silver medal won in the men's 25m rapid fire pistol shooting event at the London 2012 Olympic GamesThere were controversies in the Tennis arena, as to which team was the probable medal winner. Boppana and Bhupathi had lost to the French pair in a poor way. With the lower rating Vishnu Vardhan did a commendable job along side Leander Paes though they did not win a medal. In badminton all eyes were on Saina but many failed to notice the dark horse, Kashyap Paruppalli. He went down valiantly fighting the No.1  seed Lee Chong Wee.  

Vijay Kumar with his silver medal -courtesy International Business Times

We often make hype on a few like Sania, Gagan, Vijayakumar, .but fail to notice or encourage others.  Whether the glory we showered during the previous Olympics at Beijing   on Abinav Bindra has become null and void is not known. Tinu Luka's qualification in Quarter finals in 800 meters is no event at all also is not known to me. 

Though Gagan's bronze indicated the start of glory for India, the final momentum was won by Sushil and Vijaykumar at the end. As any Indian or even more than many I am happy and proud. Many nights were spent for following these events. 

Where is the Gold and the Glory?

With 6 medals in our bag it is defiantly a time to celebrate. With 83 athletes and 13 events and for a country of the size with 1.21 billion, is this enough is the next question that haunts. We had won doubled our tally compared to the previous Olympics is the boast. What if one had one 23 and now another 3 which makes it only to 26 but not double. Two medals can be boasted as double compared to only one. When asked about whether more medals are good or gold is good to Carl Lewis about Indian performance (CNN IBN interview), he said more medals will produce more heroes in India. He was graceful and mature in saying so. As Indians, can we be contented  with our achievements? USA got 110 last time and now only 104 , does it say it performed bad? Last time China topped it and now USA. 

Jamaica's 12 medal tally is indeed a proud moment for that country. How can anyone forget "Bolt from the sky" who showed arrogance and boasting in talk but proved so also. Where we can find a Michael Phelp in our country? Is not Serena's dominance  enjoyable by all? The grace of synchronized swimming or rhythmic gymnastics is worth watching many times.  Why certain countries rule certain games? What is our national game? Did you say Hockey? Where is the key to get through a commendable position? If there was a clay medal, for sure Indian hockey team would have deserved it. 

When will we stand tall in these games or when we can even host an Olympics? Where do we go wrong?

The Science of Sports: Winning in the OlympicsI always advocate scientific methods and use of technology for the growth of this country. I saw many programs on super humans in the History channel. Whenever, someone claims something or demonstrate feats, they are put to scientific tests such as blood lactic acid acid level, heart rate, muscular movements and so on. Science of sports is not something new. Even a cricket ball use and spins are all analyzed using technologies and the team watches them before taking on the opponents. Do we employ science and technology as much as the developed countries? Do we really talk about balanced nutrition or sports diets? What are our training facilities compared to the developed world? 

Here is a link which talks about a book on Winning in the Olympics, by Scientific American. For sure it would be a good reading. 

Just throwing money may not be an answer unless one does it scientifically. Being happy is good but worrying and working hard for going to the next stage is urgent and important. Now instead of "Go India, Go" slogan we need to say "Move on India, Move on!" 

1 comment:

  1. Well said Charles….I for one was proud of our achievements although lack of gold was disappointing. What should we do to get more medals in 2020 and 2024? Please note that I do not count 2016.

    1. Concentrate only on events where we do have some chance such as wrestling, boxing, archery, shooting and field events. Forget hockey and track.
    2. The people who participated in 2012 pledge not to participate in 2016 or even beyond. It is wishful thinking to believe that what you could not achieve now can be achieved in 4 years time.
    3. Let the talented and who won dedicate next 10-20 years of their life to train and bring a gold medal in their category to India.
    4. Government to pay them high salaries and tap in their knowledge and experience rather than pushing them to get medals in future.
    5. A father in Haryana was able to make world class facilities for her daughter. Why can’t a nation?
    6. Develop the getting of medals in future to a business model. I am sure most of us watched IPL. I was very much impressed by the professionalism and class in which these matches are organized year after year. Great stuff. Forget a few Lalit Modis or Suresh Kalmadis. Concentrate on our greatness.
    7. Develop focus and long vision for Olympics. Certainly we can reap medals if we just focus and target our energy in the right way including adopting scientific methods and use of science and technology