Long Live London Olympics
“I haven’t contributed anything. Credit goes to my Guru, Federation Officials and Chief Coach”. Thus spoke Super Sushil, a simple and unassuming Haryanwi hailing from Najafgarh, Delhi upon winning a silver medal in 66 kg weight category of men’s freestyle wrestling.
He created history at 18.30 hrs (IST) on the last day of London Olympics by winning his second successive individual medal despite being a victim of unfortunate dehydration.
With his win, India wound up its campaign on a highly satisfying note. Rather, it was the best ever performance by an 81 member strong contingent. The tally of three medals (one silver & two bronze )at Beizing was convincingly doubled to six (two silver & four bronze ).
It was a fitting and memorable tribute to emerging professionalism coupled with liberal and assured expenditure on training aids by a handful of public and private outfits.
It is time to assess, look back and introspect to move ahead with a positive bent of mind. Shall we begin with the biggest disappointment- below par performance by a much fancied Hockey team? They lost six matches in a row without any worthwhile resistance. The characteristic feature of the tale of sorrow was against Belgium, when no goal could be scored by a team whose predecessors had eight Olympic Gold in their kitty starting from 1928 and ending with 1980 Moscow Olympics. In the process, the team had to be satisfied with 12th position as compared to 8th rank in the last World Cup Hockey at New Delhi in 2010.
The shooters too disappointed, in a way, the eager, expectant and conscious spectators at home. They didn’t fall exactly like pack of cards in the reverse rhythm of highly rated Tennis superstars. Many of them like Archers were right on top in some of the world events. One silver and one bronze by Vijay Kumar and Gagan Narang , however, keeps the hopes and expectations alive and kicking for posterity. It goes on to also prove that the fire ignited by the gold winning superlative performance of Abhinav Bindra in 2008 Beizing Olympics hasn’t been extinguished.
Saina Nehwal played exceedingly well till she took part in her last bronze medal deciding match. Her Chinese opponent simply collapsed due to acute knee pain. Thus luck favoured decisively the little star from Hyderabad, improving her world ranking to four.
Only grit, sustained practice and stamina are not the deciding factors. You also improve your chances sometimes for a medal, owing to the kind of draw you face and widely believed luck factor. Perhaps due to this extra force , Amit Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt got rare chances to enter the repepage round.
While the former wrestled valiantly to be defeated despite coming back in second round and winning the last round, Dutt went on winning spree after crushing his opponents, one after another. In the words of Michael Fereira, the former World Billiards Champion, “Dutt having got a solid hold over his North Korean opponent twisted him like a Sphagetti”. No wonder, on being certain about his bronze medal, he gymnasted and somersaulted like a butterfly in true Mohammed Ali style. This was his third Olympics. He had to show his might and determination.
Mary Kom , five times world champion, despite winning bronze medal in a category she resisted to be promoted, was, however, devoid of luck, in a way. She reportedly could not give her best due to ‘period’ factor, which might have restricted her overall strength and confidence. Nonetheless, medal winning performance by two Indian women has not only bolstered further the prospects of other compatriots from the fair sex but the day is not far when they will simply outperform the men.
In retrospect, India has three more medals as compared to Beizing but does it go on to justify for a nation having many world champions or world level winners in several games or events at present? Don’t we need to further improve?
A “country” called Phelps [of USA] has won 22 medals individually so far in two Olympics as compared to same number by a much bigger country called India that has also the same number of medals in its bag since 1900. Will it be comparable?
The public authority needs to check malpractices and spend more on motivation, training, tapping talents from states like Manipur, Jharkhand, Sikkim, Chhattisgarh etc, infrastructure within and fine tuning spotted talents outside the country.
The number of officials may also need drastic reduction apart from freeing sports associations from the clutches of public servants. In the ultimate analysis, the contestants will gain supreme confidence to face the large crowd and thereby register a medal ensuring win. For want of such an accelerated and augmented mental make- up, Karmakar and Devendro missed bronze medals by a whisker and Punia and Gowda figured at top, registering 7th and 8th rank in their respective events.
There is, therefore, a bright hope for future. There should be no reason NOT to grab it.