My Thoughts

Posts Tagged ‘Abhinav Bindra

Saina and her coach P Gopichand return to a warm reception in India after her fantastic win in the Indonesian Open.

In India it would seem for an outsider that cricket is the only sport in existence. Hockey (India’s National game) has been on a wane for a long time now and nothing has been done about it. Indian Hockey team had to face the ignominy of not qualifying for the world cup and have pretty much struggled at the world stage over the past decade or so. So even though until the last few years we haven’t achieved anything great in cricket the major difference between cricket and other sports were the stars and individual achievements.

Cricket has always given its fan a star to idolize, which was something lacking in other sports. In the 90’s Leander and Mahesh captured the imagination of the Indians with wonderful performances and so did Gopichand with this All England title but not much from the other sports. But the last few years has changed the trend. Starting from Abhinav Bindra’s brilliant gold at the Olympics to Saina Nehwal’s wonderful run in Badminton, Indian sports has come a long way in that time. We have Vijender Singh in Boxing, Somdev in tennis, and Saina in Badminton and Abhinav Bindra in shooting and Viswanathan Anand in Chess. Saina I feel will end up as the best Indian women sportsperson in the history of Indian sports. At just 20 she has scaled enormous peaks and has become world number two and I hope that she becomes the best player in the world soon.

That is quite a line up I mentioned above, adding to that list is Armaan Ebrahim (Formula Two racer), Parthiva Sureshwaran (Formula two) and Karun Chandhok (Second Indian after Narain to represent in Formula 1) and Narain himself in NASCAR (US) reviving India’s interest in motorsports. So considering all this the last 10 years has been a golden period for Indian sports. I always believed that you need stars in other sports to get the kids interested. Media needs to play an important role in this too.

The next major hurdle now is the sponsors. Recently I was in conversation with one of our American colleague’s at lunch during the Soccer world cup and we asked him why American youngsters are not taking up Soccer as their career considering how well their National team performed at the event. He said it all came down to the money. Other sports in US such as Football, Baseball and Basketball ensure million dollar contracts, scholarship in a good college etc which soccer doesn’t here. Which was a very valid point as for parents to encourage their kids to take up a sport as a career, they will consider the financial aspect as their major criteria. That’s where cricket scores over the other sports in India.

Now with stars like Saina, Abhinav and Vijender in the mix I hope that these sports receive sponsors too. All the money right now goes only to one sport and it will be great if the respective associations try and get sponsorship and promote other sports to encourage youngsters to take up the same. I know this will be a long process and cannot be achieved overnight but we have to move in that direction.

A good talent should not be lost due to lack of money. We have a world number 1 middle weight boxer, World number two badminton player, Olympic gold medalist in shooting, Top 100 men’s tennis player and 4 players in world motorsports. This is indeed the golden era for Indian sports and we need to make full use of the same and hope that this scenario is not wasted. Good luck to Saina and others for the Commonwealth games in India. I hope that they make India proud win lots of medals in the upcoming CW games.

Sushil Wins Bronze

Sushil Wins Bronze

1 Gold, 1 Bronze and another medal on the way makes this the best ever olympics for India. Vijender won his quartefinals bout to assure himself of at least a bronze medal in the middleweight class. This makes it three for India in the 29th edition of the Olympics and is a wonderful feeling for every Indian like myself. India won a gold in Hockey in 1980 and had to wait for 28 years to win another one and this time it is even better as we managed to win two more medals on top of that.

When the Indian Hockey team failed to qualify for the olympics, it seemed like a medal hope was lost. Even though the hockey team never performed great in the previous 6 editions before this after 1980, we always thought that they are our best hope to win a olympic medal. What we have seen in the previous years is that there is someone who always stood up to be counted. Even though not many people thought that Leander would win a medal in tennis singles or Malleswari would win a medal in weightlifting, they did the same against the odds.

This olympics has been a great one for India and I hope that this inspires more athletes for the next edition in 2012. India has always found unlikely heroes in olympics to make the country proud and this time we have three. Kudos to Sushil, Abhinav and Vijender. These three have made all the Indians proud. I hope that Vijender goes on to win gold in Boxing to make this olympics even more special for India.

Mahesh and Leander Crashed out of Olympics

Mahesh and Leander Crashed out of Olympics

Abhinav Bindra’s gold medal last week in the Beijing olympics made every Indian proud. But if we consider that this was our first such medal in 28 years makes us kind of sad. The rest of the Indian contingent have not fared that great in the games this year and it seems like we will end up with just one medal this year too. When we see that China who have a population of almost similar proportions to India leading the medals tally makes us wonder where we are going wrong.

I would have thought before the games began that India’s best chance for a Olympic medal this year would be the doubles combination of Leander and Mahesh. Them crashing out in the quarterfinals and Sania crashing out too have dashed India’s hope of a second medal. We had few others giving us some hope like Saina in badminton and Akhil in boxing but both of them crashed out before entering the medal rounds. The basic issue in Indian sports is lack of sponsership and encouragement for the athletes.

The fact that the Indian hockey team did not even qualify for the games points us to a much larger issue. It seems like the sports in India other than cricket is facing a slow death if the respective boards are not careful about it. Indian athletes have always struggled and the reason for the same is that they cannot take that as a profession as people from other countries can. They dont have proper sponsership and training facilities required for them to excel and compete at world level.

If the boards and various committees in India dont take action soon then India would become a one sport nation which it kind of already is. Getting a gold medal in Olympics is great but not knowing where the next medal would come from is not that encouraging for Indian sports. India needs heroes for the people to follow in other sports. The olympic games come and go but we dont stop wondering as to where the next medal is going to come from. The nation of 1 billion people and just one medal. Micheal Phelps of USA has taken 8 medals all by himself. As I write this article there are couple more chances for India in Boxing in the coming days to get the second medal for the country. As the nation searches for its second medal, I just hope that something is done to revive the other sports in India.

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