Assured of the biggest medal haul ever courtesy Mary Kom‘s victory on Monday, India go into the last week of the London Games with mixed feelings. The script, which started with so much promise, has delivered a two and a half star rating show so far. The audience doesn’t know if it should call the big picture of Indian sports a “success” or a show of “missed opportunities”. However, what is sure, at this point, is a yellow metal in the remaining days can definitely improve the rating of our performance.
India is currently lying 44th on the medals table and nothing less than a gold will satisfy the critics who have started their work on the report card which has more red marks than blue. In Beijing, with one gold and two bronze medals, we stood on the 50th position. Chances are, if we don’t manage a gold over the next couple of days, we might finish even lower on the medals table in London. Given our culture promotes herd mentality and sport being an emotional subject, it is likely our performance will be celebrated as the best ever, giving little importance to the reality on paper.
It is pity that a small country like Kazakhstan in Western Asia has managed to win six gold medals at London so far, while our country with population of more than a billion is still waiting for a gold as the Olympics are nearing to an end. Even tiny Islands such as Dominican Republic and Grenada have managed to strike it rich in London, digging gold. It shows even though we have world-class athletes in sports such as Archery, Badminton, Boxing, Shooting, Tennis and Wrestling, we are surely not world beaters yet. In fact, swimming great Michael Phelps has more gold medals (18) to his name than our country (nine) in the history of the Olympics.
Having said that, the biggest underperformers of the games so far has been Australia. The Australian contingent has won only two gold medals so far, leading the authorities to launch an investigation into the missing gold rush. It will be ironical if the Indian contingent returns home without a gold medal, as there were a number of initiatives launched in the run up to the London Games by the corporates, government and the NGOs that all revolved around the theme ‘Go for Gold’.
Can Mary Kom or Sushil Kumar complete the Indian cupboard with the missing gold? Or will we need to wait for another four years to get that elusive gold, which Abhinav Bindra got us after an agonising wait of 28 years? Let us keep our fingers crossed for now..
By Aman Dhall
(The author is Co-founder & Partner, Pro4Sport Solutions, a
high-performance coaching firm that trains young athletes in the sport of Basketball, Cricket, Football and Table Tennis)