India, the world’s second most populous country with over 1.1. billion people, on Monday won its first ever individual Olympic gold when shooter Abhinav Bindra won the men’s 10m air rifle event. This certainly means a lot for every Indian who dreamt for long to see India on the list of Gold medallist. India eventually appeared on the list, but we have a long way to go taking this medal as a motivation and hope for a change.
Talking about the history, Indian had only four individual medals prior to this but none of them is gold. The previous best individual performance was by trap shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore who won silver at Athens (2004). While there were bronze medals for woman weightlifter Karnam Malleswari (2000), Leander Paes in tennis (1996) and wrestler Khasaba Jadhav (1952). Since 1900, in all, India only managed to win 17 medals including the 11 (8 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze) from the hockey alone.
Unfortunately, the Indian hockey team which was till then carrying hope for another gold medal couldn’t even qualify for the first time in its history of Olympics. Despite having such a huge population we still lack a lot to make our presence feel in the international sports arena. And this is no way possible as long as our power hungry politicians and those sheer blind fellow in sports administrative bodies wake up from their long sleep to build sports as a daily activity and not just a past time to the cricket-mad youth.
Many questions pop up in mind as soon as one thinks of India’s poor Olympic performance in recent past. Isn’t it a shame for a country aspiring for a nuclear and economic leader like other developed nation? Is not it discomfited to think that India which has some of the richest individual in the world and an economy with 9 percent growth rate dither to be a sporting power? Don’t we care our national pride- when the world worships Olympics as a universal ritual?
This lone gold medal would no doubt lift the success-starved country but we have a long way to go and mostly by changing our approach to every game. Undoubtedly there is immense talent but then we need to infuse new leadership in administration with sports personality and not people with political background who only thinks to turn the table for their own vested interest.
India which is known world over for its doctors, scientists, researchers, novelists, certainly has the part to compete at the Olympic stadium. Let’s not make it a one game country, let’s nurture young talent living far in a small village, let’s try and bring not a single but every reason to be a super power. And hope this medal from Abhinav Bindra as a positive change for the years to come in Indian sports.