Equaling the gold medal tally of first ever Asian Games held in New Delhi, 1951, India gave its best performance in the multi-sport event at Indonesia, 2018. Has this ushered a new era of sports or is this a delayed success? From the World stage to continental, to a national event, sports have always been a method of bringing unity between nations. For what was lost in world wars, Asian Games was a method of bringing ex-colonial nations together and finding joy in the ravages. Indians were motivated by the feelings of nationalism and freedom in ’51 and today, it is the pride in the adjective, ‘Indian.’
India has concentrated mainly on Cricket, especially, after the 1981 WC success. Cricket has, unfortunately, been played in only 2010 & 2014. Hockey had been believed to be the national sport and India does well in this section. Athletics, Kabaddi, Board games are some other categories where India has had a fair record.
India has had fewer ‘Star Athletes’ in other sports, in comparison to cricket. This is changing and sportsperson in other disciples are also being celebrated. Overcoming problems, such as patriarchy, racism, casteism, financial, among others, their success stories are a source of inspiration and national unity.
WHERE CAN WE IMPROVE
The famed winners could help in inspiring aspirants and the government already rewards the medalists with financial aid and other benefits. Compulsory sports education, building, and consistent funding and updating of local stadiums and gymnasiums, increased local tournaments or leagues in all sports would not only help identify the back-benched winners but also help produce more athletes.
China has been the best performing nation for the past 10 games and is similar to India in many aspects. If they can, we can and from the looks of it, it is nothing but a delayed success. India has not had a taste of real success in international events. From what sport it could, it clung onto it and didn’t pay heed to others. Now, it finds pride in extra-curricular and people are migrating to other sport-disciples, which was reflected in the appreciable performance in the latest Asiad games. Yes, you don’t have to be an engineer anymore to succeed. Just kidding! Though, do consider a sport.