Cliche as it may sound may be a tad biased too but what Olympic sports in India need is what Sourav Ganguly did to Indian cricket. From being lovey-dovey athletes we need to get killer instinct run through the blood of our athletes not getting intimidated by any when competing at the highest level.
Yet another Olympics and India’s tryst with medals remain a story of disappointment as always. There is no doubt that we had a lot more hope from Tokyo 2020 this time than ever before but the story as far as medals are concerned is light years away from expectation.
India needs to have a complete sea change in its approach and mindset. For me, very clearly where we lose out all the time despite having World Champions and number one’s representing us in different disciplines, is in the mind and body language. We somehow suffer from a tremendous inferiority complex in such major events. We get intimidated and thus lose the battle even before we are in it.
Instead, what will follow now is mudslinging, committees being formed to look into the debacle, coaches will be replaced, associations, politicians, governments will be criticized and cursed and of course Cricket being blamed for it all.
In a few months elections and Pakistan-China will take over our minds and then in Paris 2024 we will repeat the cycle.
What will also follow are those remarkable emotional struggle stories of our athletes making us feel for the difficulties they overcome to be there where they are.
We will be made to convince that as a poor and developing nation this is what we can do. Comparisons with the USA, European nations, etc. will be brought in; their budgets, culture, and professionalism will be highlighted.
End of the today, we will be forced to convince ourselves our athletes have done their best, and given the circumstances, we should remain optimistic and back our athletes.
Let’s once and for all stop this. Most champions across the world come with the most challenging backgrounds and never are their path to the Gold medal one of the rose petals.
Of course we as a nation, we as sports fanatics will always back our athletes. However what you define as backing? Constant praise in spite of it all? Keep worshiping them as idols and demigods irrespective of their performances? Reward and award them with the highest Sports and Civilian awards to motivate? Give them jobs and secure them for life?
Sorry, this takes us nowhere at all, will never do. Just to put on records the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports spent INR 1169.65 Crore for preparation of the Tokyo Games in the last 5 years covering 18 Olympic and Paralympic disciplines. INR 44.41 Crore was spent on just 32 Olympic athletes specifically to prepare for Tokyo under the TOPS scheme. Over crore and a half were spent behind the Archery team itself to make their final preparations just before the Games.
Having said that, if money alone could win you medals then Tunisia, Uzbekistan, Slovakia, Estonia, and Fiji, would never feature on the medals tally. Only the rich and major economies would have taken it all.
We need to imbibe in our athletes what is known as a Champions’ attitude. When they compete at the highest level and set up as Olympics they need to believe completely that they belong there.
They are as good as the rest for which they are competing with the best. Unless that attitude is lived with and body language reflects we may have the best of athletes competing but will not be able to kill it. We need to fight straight looking into the eyes of our competitors. The Ministry and Indian Olympic Association seriously need to invest in there.
Killer instincts they call, that makes the difference between Champions and winners. Let’s get it.
Disclaimer: Views expressed here are solely owned by the writer.