India finished Olympics ranked 47. How to win more medals | OPINION

My smile is broad this week as it’s of many Indians as a result of this has been per week to rejoice, per week to rejoice the Olympic maha-kumbh and the achievements of our sportspersons – the type of ‘wow!’ moments that we solely see each 4 years when the Olympics come. But this time in Tokyo, the Olympic Games have been a bit of bit further particular as a result of new sports activities stars have emerged.

Did you actually know of Ravi Kumar Dahiya, the wrestler who staged that magnificent comeback to win a silver medal? We, in fact, knew about PV Sindhu however her exceptional potential in large matches continues to be one thing to admire, the way in which she out performed the Chinese lady to win a bronze medal. And, weightlifter Mirabai Chanu, who we knew had the capability to win a medal for us and she or he did precisely that, with élan.

Then the boxer Lovlina Borgohain, do you know her title? Be trustworthy, if you weren’t a real sports activities fan, had you heard of Lovlina or know certainly of Aditi Ashok taking part in with the most effective on the earth in girls’s golf? And then, in fact, there was the final word dream second in Indian Olympic historical past when Neeraj Chopra achieved what no observe and area athlete had managed for the nation since 1947 – win not only a medal however making it a glittering gold.

And then there was the revival of my pehla pyaar (old flame) hockey – a sport which I grew to love after I was rising up within the Seventies, a sport which I assume a technology had nearly given up on, a sport which has taken us by means of a curler coaster of feelings.

We had been successful a hockey medal for the primary time since approach again in 1980 in Moscow. It was unbelievable this time to see the Indian males’s hockey crew on the rostrum and people fantastic, spirited girls and the way wherein they carried out and reached the semi-finals having finished final within the Rio Olympics in 2016.

New heroes had been added to the nation’s proud hockey historical past – the Rani Rampals and Savita Punias, for instance, in girls’s hockey . And, in fact, the sensible males’s hockey goalkeeper PR Sreejesh, who informed me that the ‘goalpost is like my dwelling. I’ve a particular relationship with the goalpost’.

The crew’s performances have introduced nice pleasure and but, within the Straight Bat, we should say issues as we see them, as a result of whereas some issues are clearly altering for the higher, some issues have nonetheless not modified: specifically, the way wherein our netas and their supporters have a tendency to attempt to take credit score for the achievements of our sportspersons.

I bear in mind my late father Dilip Sardesai telling me that in 1971, after the historic victory after they defeated England in England for the primary time, the Air India flight was on the final second diverted to Delhi. Why? Then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi wished to have a reception for the gamers. Some would say all she wished was a photo-op.

But it was Mrs Gandhi who wished to be seen across the winners. And the cricket crew on the time was a crew of winners. Now, in fact, we’ve got Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who’s promising to invite all our Olympian stars to the Independence Day capabilities, which I feel is a superb thought. Why not rejoice August fifteenth with our Olympic stars?

This isn’t new. For the longest time, world leaders have tended to bask within the mirrored glory of sporting heroes.

Sporting heroes are the purest of heroes in a approach, the champions who attain the place they’re primarily based on advantage and talent, not on any nepotism, not due to being somebody’s son and daughter. I hold saying that I’m a residing instance of the truth that sports activities don’t run within the genes, expertise does. So, my father may play for India, I could not.

It’s fantastic when our flesh pressers recognise our sports activities stars with money awards and honours. Where I’ve an issue is when the politicians and their supporters appear to imagine that it’s the chief who’s bringing within the medals for the nation and never the athletes.

Recall the ridiculous posters which got here up simply earlier than the Olympics in Guwahati the place you’ve got Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma wishing good luck to the ‘satisfaction of Assam’ boxer Lovlina Borgohain.

The solely downside is that the posters didn’t have an image of Lovlina. Instead, that they had a life-size image of Himanta Biswa Sarma. It was some sycophant of the chief minister who apparently put up the posters. It required a public outcry earlier than the posters had been eliminated. Lovlina is the champion, Himanta Biswa Sarma is the chief minister of Assam who’s a grasp election strategist, however he isn’t going to win you an Olympic medal within the boxing ring.

Similarly, you had Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh who was celebrating, it appeared from his tweets at the least, solely the hockey gamers who hailed from Punjab. When the actual fact is that hockey is a crew sport, so why not hail all of the 11 gamers. Not simply these from your house state.

Then, after the medal-winning efficiency of the hockey gamers, there was a hashtag that abruptly was working on social media saying, “Thank You Modi”. But why ‘thanks Modi’ for the efficiency of the hockey gamers?
I can perceive if you say ‘thanks’, to illustrate, to the previous sports activities minister, Kiren Rijiju who, alongside together with his predecessor Col Rajyavardhan Rathore, himself an Olympic silver medalist, did play a task in encouraging and incentivising Olympic sports activities in the previous few years whereas he was the sports activities minister.

But why hyperlink the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to each Olympic successful second? Do we actually want to evaluate the six medals received in London 2012 when the UPA was in energy to the seven now received when the NDA is in workplace? This fixed try to construct a character cult round a Supreme Leader smacks of unalloyed hero worship. It’s political propaganda of a form we noticed in the course of the Olympics when the erstwhile communist regimes linked the ‘success’ of their political system to Olympic medals . When Russia, East Germany and Cuba had been successful medals within the Seventies and 80s, the athletes would dedicate their medals to the communist system, nearly as if it was a triumph for a political order when a rustic received medals.

The reality is, if there may be one politician in the intervening time who truly deserves a ‘thanks’ be aware, significantly for our hockey win, it’s the Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. Just a few years in the past, Indian hockey was actually within the doldrums. We had not even certified for the 2008 Olympics. We had been struggling for a sponsor. The Odisha authorities someday in 2015 determined to step in, first by endorsing a premier hockey league. A world cup was organised in 2018 in Odisha. A world class hockey infrastructure was in-built Bhubaneswar the place the crew may practice, the place they may play high quality matches.

The Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) or certainly the Odisha authorities, to be more particular, determined to sponsor hockey – each the lads’s and the ladies’s groups, with Sundargarh in Odisha turning into the brand new type of ‘garh’ or the fortress of the Indian hockey from the place lots of the younger gamers are actually rising. In reality, in 2023, the hockey world cup is once more scheduled to be held in Bhubaneswar.

It is that type of sustained help that has helped Indian hockey to rise from the ashes. And that’s the reason why, in a way, Naveen Patnaik is the one Indian neta who can genuinely declare credit score for the revival of the game of hockey that all of us love a lot.

But distinction his comparatively low key response to that of different netas. Patnaik launched a few congratulatory movies, a number of full-page ads however with out the fixed chest thumping. He did not counsel as if he had received a medal on the Olympics, however wished the hockey gamers to be the centre of consideration.

In reality, after I requested Mr Patnaik’s workplace after the crew received a medal about doing an interview with the chief minister, the Chief Minister’s Office responded, ‘ we’re sorry. The chief minister could be very busy. He mentioned what he had to. Please rejoice the hockey stars.’

I believed that was so refreshing and reassuring to discover that, on this media age, there may be one chief minister who’s glad to keep within the background and hold the main focus solely on the gamers who had received the medal.

By the way in which, I discovered a number of years in the past after I interviewed Mr Patnaik that he was a hockey fan. He was additionally a hockey goalkeeper when he was at Doon School. I additionally learnt that the chief minister’s formidable programme was now to have an artificial AstroTurf floor in each district of Odisha. What may very well be higher than that? This is how sport is inspired if you do it from the grassroots.

Which is why we’d like to take a look at what I’d name the Odisha Model in constructing Olympic sport. What is that this mannequin? Basically, why cannot each state or definitely main state within the nation choose one Olympic sport the place we’ve got the capability and expertise over so a few years to get medals after which associate a personal firm, a partnership that helps construct Olympic sport.

For instance, why cannot Maharashtra choose up wrestling – we’ve got an awesome custom of wrestling in Maharashtra and tie up with the Reliance Foundation and construct the sports activities infrastructure there. Jharkhand, which has an awesome custom of archery, may tie up with Tata Steel. Haryana may deal with boxing and taking pictures, Manipur in weightlifting and a Kerala, possibly in rowing. Create particular video games for particular states and construct an Olympic degree infrastructure round them.. Most critically, enable the personal sector, foundations like JSW sports activities of Jindal metal, to take the elite athletes to the following degree as they did by supporting Neeraj Chopra.

Bottomline on the finish of the day is just this: medals are received by athletes and never by politicians. This is as true of Abhinav Bindra in 2008 when Manmohan Singh and the UPA had been in energy as it’s right now when a PV Sindhu wins two successive Olympic medals in the course of the NDA’s rule. Abhinav received gold. Sindhu has develop into the primary particular person athlete to win two consecutive medals.

What the state can do is to present an enabling setting, be certain that budgets are usually not reduce, as a substitute spend money on constructing a stable faculty and junior degree sports activities infrastructure and create a system which is freed from stifling forms and politics, and is really merit-driven. That’s the function of the state.

The function of the personal sector is to take a look at life past cricket and fund Olympic sports activities and elite potential medal-winning athletes. The reality is, netas are welcome to take their photo-ops with the Olympians. They can interact with them in made-for-TV and social media conversations . Corporates can promote their manufacturers, however successful medals in sports activities isn’t about self-promotion . It isn’t about naming stadiums after politicians. It’s about being real promotion of excellence in sports activities 364 days 24×7. The day we realise that and begin constructing a world-class sporting infrastructure and a real sports activities tradition in each nook and nook of India, we are able to actually rejoice the spirit of Khelo India and dream of truly successful many more Olympic medals. Tokyo 2020 isn’t the end line however should develop into the start line for the good Indian Olympic ambition.

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