Eidur Gudjohnsen joins the viral Indian Olympic argument, dismisses the 'more people equals more medals' theory
Former Chelsea and Barcelona star Eidur Gudjohnsen is in India after signing up for Pune City FC in the third season of the Hero ISL. Gudjohnsen, an Iceland international, dismissed the scathing criticism of India’s failure to win more Olympic medals by citing his country’s example. Drawing comparisons between the two nations, their populations and their sports portfolio, he feels the theory of ‘more people equals more medals’ is invalid.
After Indians celebrated the success of two medals on the arrival of the winners, sections of the social media criticised the country’s failure to make the most of their population strength. Popular British journalist Piers Morgan added to his Twitter account calling it embarrassing. However, Gudjohnsen feels there is no relation between population and sports performance.
"I think it's very harsh to relate the two - population and sporting performance are not related. In football, it was easy for Iceland to implement a method of playing football across the country. It is also important to see which is the most popular sport in the country and in Iceland, it is football.
"There is also an out-flux of players going to play in top leagues in Europe. And most importantly, the size of the country matters. In Iceland, kids walked to training pitches. Getting to places is easier, getting to games is easier, getting to training is easier and finding talent is easier," Gudjohnsen said, according to ScoopWhoop.
Gudjohnsen, now 37, has won Premier League and La Liga titles, while also adding a Champions League crown to his illustrious career. Having played at Chelsea and Barcelona, he feels a league like the ISL is a good platform for players perishing on account of their age to contribute while also adding to their own experiences.
"The contact was made a long time back when the league kicked off, but the time is right now. It's a great opportunity for me to experience something new and while the pressure is always there - if not from external forces, but from within - then all I can say is that I will give everything I've got," he said.
Gudjohnsen was part of the Iceland team who made a dream run at the Euro 2016 by reaching the quarter-finals. A country whose population is a mere 300,000 managed to beat England and Austria while drawing games against Hungary and eventual champions Portugal. In contrast, India being the second most populous country in the world seems to have underachieved despite sending a strong contingent to the Olympics.