Condition of sports in India - Part 1
When the Indian national flag is hosted in a sports arena and the Indian national anthem is played to honor our athletes, its a proud moment for every Indian. Watching our athletes to experience the moment for which they have dedicated their life and purpose while the national anthem playing in the background is an absolute treat. The glitter in their eyes while looking at our national flag hoisted high in the sky brings in a flood of emotions full of joy and pride to every Indian.
There is no argument on the fact that we Indians are crazy about cricket. It is the most watched sporting event in the country and no other sports stand anywhere close to the popularity of cricket. Enough has already done for cricket and I think more than enough will be done in the future for the same. Therefore, let's concentrate on other sports and leave cricket for the people who are interested in it and believe me when I say that there is no shortage of such people in our country.
Barring a few sports and their specific world level competitions, for a majority of sports that the world plays, there are three major events where the Indian contingent perform at the world stage and compete against world-class athletes. Those events are Olympics, Asian games, and Commonwealth Games. As we all know that Olympics is the holy grail as far as sporting events are concerned and the level of competition comes down a notch at the Asian games which get further lower but still remain world class in the Commonwealth Games. Let's have a look at the performance of our athletes in these events in the recent past.
Performance at last three Olympics:
In 2016 Rio summer Olympics, India was at a 67th place on the medals tally but actually had 77 countries above it. The situation was so dim that even the "Independent Olympic Athletes (IOA)" under whose banner athletes compete as Independent Olympians at the Olympic Games for various reasons, including political sanctions, suspensions of National Olympic Committees, and compassion was at 51st place i.e. 16 places ahead of India. In the 2012 London summer Olympics, India was at 55th place and in 2008 Beijing summer Olympics, we were at 50th place. It would be a relief if we don't even consider winter Olympics here. In 2018, India's Shiva Keshavan completed his sixth and final Olympics in Pyeongchang. He had funded his previous Olympic trip through crowdfunding and has also had to previously compete with a borrowed sled. He representing India at the winter Olympics is more due to his determination rather than anything else. These stats are not to be proud of for a country of 1.3+ billion people. In total, India has won 28 medals in 24 Olympics in which it participated.
Performance at last three Asian Games:
India was 8th in the 2014 Incheon games and won a total of 57 medals which was actually a disappointment as compared to the 2010 Guangzhou games in which India stood 6th in the medal tally with 65 medals, India's best performance in Asian games as far as the number of medals is concerned. In terms of the gold medal, It was India's second-best performance since the 1951 games held at New Delhi. In 2006 Doha games, we were again at the 8th place with a total of 53 medals while the 2018 Jakarta games are still going on when this post is being published. In total, India has won 605 medals in 17 Asian games (excluding the 2018 Jakarta games) in which it participated.
Performance at last three Commonwealth Games:
India was 3rd in the 2018 Gold Coast games with a total of 66 medals. It was an improvement to the 2014 Glasgow games in which India stood 5th in the medal tally with 64 medals. India's best performance in Commonwealth games came in the year 2010 when the games were held at New Delhi, India. In the 2010 games, India won a total of 101 medals with 38 gold medals and stood 2nd on the medal tally, just below Australia. In total, India has won 504 medals in 17 commonwealth games in which it participated.
Indian athletes have performed relatively well in Asian and Commonwealth games as compared to Olympics. Also, whenever the games are organized in India,
Our athletes reach their highest potential and gave their best performance. This is evident when we look at India's performance in 1951 and 1982 Asian games and 2010 Commonwealth games. In all those events, India's overall performance is the best ever. These are a few of the broader points which can be inferred while looking at the history of these games.
In the second and the penultimate part to this series, we will look at the performance of our athletes in individual sports and then in the final part, we will discuss the future and the way forward. Have an eye on this space for more.