“If you are going through a bad patch of time,” the saying goes, “expect to be bitten by a dog, sitting atop a camel.” This proverb fits aptly with Indian medal hopes in the Tokyo Olympic Games of 2020. First our ace shooter Manu Bhakar lost precious time due to her gun malfunction, India lost a potential medal. Then our ace wrestler Vinesh Phogat overstayed in Frankfurt and missed her flight to Tokyo. I hope and pray that this is not an omen for things to come.
India had sent a strong contingent to the Tokyo Games. We had much expectation from our shooters, archers, boxers and wrestlers along with shuttlers. Indian medal hopes in Tokyo Olympic Games is dwindling with our main contenders archers and shooters bowing out in the first week itself. Usual debate has started and knives are out. Did we send the right people, are we supporting our sports and sports people well enough, is it worth spending so much money on sports by sending them abroad for training, paying money for foreign coach etc.? When we do not even qualify for the final round leave alone winning a medal.
Coming from a poor medal starved country it is natural that we get disappointed when our athletes do not end up on the podium. Many get eliminated at the first round others don’t cross the last mile. We should keep in mind that to be in the top three in the whole world needs one to be very very good. For that matter being in top ten itself is exceptional. Alas! we only celebrate podium finishers. Some also announce proudly that onlt the gold is remembered. But honestly can we ignore dedication, hardwork and sacrifice made by those who don’t make it to the podium?
It is true compared to earlier times our archers, shooters, boxers and wrestlers get foreign exposure through trainers and tournaments. Medal winners are also assured of good reward upon winning. So it is natural that we get angry when our expectations are dashed.
But we must not forget that, though post our first world cup victory in 1983, a lot of money has flown into cricket. Many families have encouraged kids to play cricket, if not for the love of the game, as a potential career option. Despite that our winning percentage used to be poor compared to top cricket playing nations in different formats. Till recently we were not comfortable playing abroad. Now when we have a decent team, we still don’t win all key matches and tournaments. No one can complain that cricket lacks money. Investment in cricket infrastructure, encouraging talent scouting and blooding talents in matches have brought us to a stage when we may not win always but we can compete well. In other sports too we need to create an infrastructure similar to cricket at various levels and churn out talents consistently. Then and then alone we may hope to do well among the best in the world.
While justifiably disappointed, I think our sports people had tried, worked hard but could not cross the last mile. Let us hope for the best next time.
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- Olympics: Vinesh Phogat misses flight to Tokyo from Frankfurt after overstaying her European Union visa by a day