Rio Olympic Games, Learn Lessons Plan Better

More than fifteen days have passed since Rio Olympic games. Athletes are back. So are sports managers. Country has celebrated our tally of two medals, one silver and one bronze. Anyone who had dared to question two medals from a country with 1200 million plus people, have been duly trashed and thrashed.   Medal winners were showered with cash and gifts and sponsorships. One political leader even assured nation that coach of silver winning athlete will be changed for a better one so that we get a gold in next olympic games. This explains our mindset. There is no long term planning. There is no intent to create infrastructure. There is no support for budding sports persons. There is no backup support when sports is over. We simply believe in showering winners with cash, rewards and awards.

A lot has been said about how our sports administrators have failed us. There is no doubt that, barring BCCI,  managers of other sports are not people of great vision. Many are there for the perks of the post, that enables them free travel to foreign countries among other things. How can we condone our marathon runner not having access to drinks every 2 km of gruelling 42 km run? It came to light the night before the run, sports managers were told by athletes that they do not need drink at regular interval. I fail to understand, instead of asking the athletes should Indian manager have not made drinks available at designated places irrespective of athletes using it or not? Every other country did. Only Indian stall was empty. May be officer in charge was too tired from party the night before, he could not get up early for the marathon. But this is India. This is how officials behave. We have to make do with what we have. No officer can be fired, it may be against human rights violation. 

Finally, there may be hope. Prime Minister has proposed creation of a twelve year task force for olympic games, keeping in mind coming three olympic games. I read in news papers, that emphasis will be paid on badminton and shooting as top sports. This is great. It seems someone is thinking. If we had paid attention after London games, we may have at least equalled the tally of last olympics or bettered it.  UK that has come second in gold medal tally in Rio games from 36th in Atlanta Olympic games. UK had adopted a strategy of funding potential winners by concentrating on fewer disciplines.  For olympic games England had spent around 350 million dollars. Some calculation say it is roughly 7 million dollars per medal. Definitely, India cannot spend that kind of money. There will be protest and shout of discrimination if we concentrate on fewer sports. Still we can improve our tally to 15 – 20 medals in Tokyo games, if we plan properly. However, if Modi is not there as PM, the whole plan may be overturned on the charge of nepotism and nationalism. This is India. Hope for the best, expect the worst. 

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