Rio Olympic Games and Right to Criticise Performance

 I feel proud when Indian athletes win medals, stand on podium and national anthem is played.  Five days of Rio Olympic is over. India has not yet opened her account yet. 

Come to think of it, legendary swimmer Michael Phelps of the US, has 21 gold medals against his name. He is expected to win atleast a couple more in Rio Olympic Games. Number of medals Phelps has won between 2008 and 2016, is higher than number of Gold medals India has won since we started participating in Olympic games. In terms of actual number, Team India might have won a few more or few less. Yet stark comparison is for every one to see. 

Do we as Indian citizens have a right to feel angry, disappointed and disillusioned? Ms Shobhaa De faced a lot of flak when she expressed her disenchantment on performance and attitude of Indian team on Twitter. Many reminded her that it is not easy to qualify for Olympics. Some wanted her to run for sixty minutes on hockey field before commenting. Others reminded how much difficulty Indian sports people experience. It is their sheer dedication to their chosen sports that sees them through to Olympics. 

 I have some problem with these arguments. 

  • There is no denying that Indian players face a lot of difficulty. In spite of all these, we may still win a few medals in Rio Olympic Games. But given our contingent size and given our 1.2 billion population size, we win too few medals. 
  • Before we are reminded of  the degree of difficulty athletes face in qualifying for the games, I would like to point out that athletes from other countries came through the same qualification criteria. Why keep site only on qualification criteria alone? Why not set site above and beyond qualification criteria?
  • It is important to play games with right spirit. From childhood we are told participation is more important than winning. We must ask, are we in the games only to participate? Is winning not equally important for bolstering national pride? Participation in Olympic games certainly brings awareness for the game in the country. Still, instead of sending a huge contingent, is it not better to send players that are more likely to win? Should we not have attempted to double our medal tally from London games? There was a great possibility if we had planned well.
  • It is true Shobhaa De or for that matter many critics may not be able to hold a rifle and shoot. Neither can critics  run on Hockey field. Should bench mark for Indian players not be players from other competing and winning teams? 

 I am thrilled with performance  of India hockey team, irrespective of result on the score board. Many players have competed well, despite not winning any media  At the same time, many others have disappointed. Same may not be said for many others. At the end of the day, I think India may win a few medals this Olympic games. Badminton, boxing, and wrestling are yet to come. Still should we shut down Indians who express disappointment at performance of Indian team? I think not.

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