India is home to 1.25 billion people and is the second most populous country in the world behind China. But given the population and talent it nurtures, it is the most underperforming country when it comes to Olympics. Even after being the world’s largest democracy, there are certain impediments that hinder the growth of sports in India. For a country of this stature, to perform so poorly in Olympics is quite an irony. India first participated in the Olympics in 1900 and has won 26 medals till date. A country that has made the greatest names and the finest players in Cricket and Hockey has failed to make a mark in Olympics.
Why India is not getting enough medals in Olympics
India has particularly made its mark and found success in a handful of sports like Cricket, Kabbadi and Hockey. The rest of the list is scattered; a few successful sportspersons who stands out in their respective field. Beyond that point, India has not contributed much to the Olympics or world sports as such.
India draws great comparison to its neighboring country China when it comes to sports. Lately, China has been a great fan, connoisseur and advocator of Olympics. They have invested a lot and have been a consistent performer in the Olympics for the last 2 decades. So why isn’t India drawing any inspiration from them? India is second in population only to China but trails far behind when it comes to winning medals.
Unlike China, sports are never a priority in India. It has not been considered or contracted as a safe career option for most parents. Parents mostly count on their children to study and earn a job rather than being in sports. It hasn’t evolved as a life goal for kids. This can be attributed to the laxity at the part of the society and the Government to project sports or sporting as a secure career option.
The population pressure is quite conspicuous in the fact that India is only the seventh largest in terms of its area but second in population. This condition is exacerbated by lack of proper infrastructure facilities or proper remuneration or incentives for sporting personalities. The minimal support from the Government adds to the plight of a person wanting to pursue a career in sports.
India has produced many stars in the shooting range but the reality is that it proves a costly affair for a shooter from a middle class family to meddle with his talents and dreams unless he receives any support from the Government. Unless, you fund yourself, it is a very tough road ahead.. Eventually it almost becomes a lump in the throat once you get quite far with your career. There comes a point where you can’t possibly go any further with it due to lack of funding or you cannot back out or diverge into an alternative career, this is the time people start compromising with their career possibly ending up somewhere as a PE teacher or a coach for a permanent income.
The Government is not yet ready to galvanize or exhilarate young athletic talents unlike China, Cuba, or the former USSR. Ignorance persists a lot in rural India. Young talents from the rural side are quite sheepish and unconfident to come forward. The poor state of affairs pressurizes and compels them to start earning at a very young age and force them to set aside their dreams. Lack of any proper scouts who could discover possible champions and prodigies in each fields adds to all this.
India is still in the developing phase and has much room for improvement. A country that produced legends like Dhyan Chand and Milkha Singh can definitely produce Jesse Owens’ and Ussain Bolts in the future. It’s only a matter of time if we try.