Wednesday, July 18, 2012

India's Olympic Dreams - London 2012


2012 London Olympics - Official Logo (Clean)
Image Courtesy: Google Images

The 2012 Summer Olympic Games is scheduled to take place in London, United Kingdom, from 27th July to 12th August, 2012. The Government of India has reportedly spent over Rs. 250 crores in preparation for the games, which also includes Rs. 20 crores on foreign coaches for various events, so says Wiki. Has the money which was supposed to be spent for the games has really been spent in the development, infrastructure and training facilities or has most of it gone down the drain? In other words, has most of the money which was supposed to be spent to develop and prepare our athletes to win medals at the Olympics, gone down a corrupt Official or a Politician’s dirty pockets? Whatever the case maybe, I have decided not to dwell much upon any controversies or corruption surrounding the games in this post. I will just concentrate on the athletes who will be our best medal hopes in the forthcoming games.

One good thing about this Olympics I have been hearing in the news is the number of Officials who will be accompanying the athletes to the games, the number of Government Sponsored Officials this time would be only 10 as compared to 166 in the Beijing Olympics. That is definitely a welcome change, now at least we can be assured that this Olympics will not end up being a paid holiday for Politicians and their relatives or anyone associated with the Sports Ministry in any way from the hard-earned tax payers money. The efforts of the IOA and the Sports Ministry are to be appreciated in this regard.

This will be India’s strongest and the largest Olympic Contingent comprising of 81 athletes in 13 different disciplines, there will be 54 Support Staff which includes Doctors, Physiotherapists and Coaches, 7 Contingent Officials, 12 Sports Federation Officials (one from each discipline in which India has qualified) and only 10 Govt. Sponsored Officials which comes to a total of 164 personnel.

As a kid watching the 1996 Atlanta Games, I used to feel very disappointed seeing the medals tally every morning in the newspapers. I used to get up eagerly to see India’s name in the medals tally but would only end up seeing the medals tally of US, China and other European nations grow. We did win a solitary Bronze Medal and Leander Paes became a National Hero. We managed to win a Bronze and a Silver Medal in subsequent Olympics but still the precious Gold Medal was missing from our kitty in an individual event. That void was finally fulfilled when three sporting heroes changed the face of Indian sporting history in the Beijing Olympics in 2008. By winning the gold in the 10 m Air Rifle event, Abhinav Bindra became the first Indian to win the individual Gold Medal at the Olympics. Vijender Singh became the first Indian Boxer to win a medal at the Olympics when he won a Bronze Medal in the 2008 Games. And Sushil Kumar won a Bronze Medal in the Men’s 66Kg Freestyle Wrestling Event; this was only the second time an Indian Wrestler has won a medal at the Olympics, first since K D Jadhav won the Bronze in the 1952 Helsinki Games.

The three Olympic heroes from the Beijing Games have made the cut in the London Games too, and we can definitely hope they would repeat or even better their performances (Vijender and Sushil can aim higher and go for gold) in this Olympics. Expectations are sky-high for India to win a record number of medals in this 30th Edition of the games. We can definitely hope to win medals in many disciplines including Archery, Shooting, Boxing, Badminton, Wrestling and even Tennis. Despite all the controversies and the ugly selection row, we can still hope for a medal in Tennis, both in Doubles and Mixed Doubles. Indian Hockey team would be making a comeback to the Olympics after missing the cut for the first time in history in the Beijing Games. Will the Hockey Team be able to leave a mark? Although the medal prospects for the Hockey Team is very slim, (well, its almost impossible) but if they spring a surprise or two and manage to get at least a bronze medal then it would be considered a great achievement.

Women’s Boxing will also make its debut at the London Games and who better than the five-time successive World Boxing Champion, Mary Kom, who will be the sole representative from India. She will be one of the brightest prospects to win a medal for us in this Olympics.

One of my most favorite athletes, the one with an infectious smile, Deepika Kumari representing the Women’s Archery Team in both Individual and Team Events will be a great medal prospect. She is currently the World No. 1 in Women’s Recurve Archery.

Saina Nehwal is again one of the most promising medal hopes for us in Badminton. Having won two back-to-back titles in the run up to the Olympics, she will be supremely confident and will be at her prime form and we can surely count on her to win an individual Gold Medal.

Compared to the previous editions of the Olympics, this edition will be our best bet to win lots of medals, the final medals tally may even touch double digits for the very first time.

47 comments:

  1. There were so many officials in last Olympics, I was not aware of it. True Akshay, when I see the table tally I am so disappointed. Hope this year brings some hope and happiness to the dying spirit of sports in India.

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    1. Yes, Saru. It was so embarrassing to see more officials than athletes in the previous Olympics. At least we have got that part right in this Olympics. :)

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  2. Welll written Akshay.... Lets hope that we can climb the tally a little better than 2008 olympics. Hope that other sports will also get the same limelight as cricket is getting

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    1. True, I hope so too Ruchita. No matter how much I love Cricket, it does hurt me when other sports are not given enough importance.

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  3. I pray that your estimation of our medal tally is spot on!!

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    1. Yes, this time we've got high hopes Sir. Hope the athletes will live up to our expectations. If we reach double digits in medals tally then I'll be thrilled. :)

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  4. we can only hope a country of billion ppl having atleat 10 golds this tym around........may fortune smile over yr resurgent Hockey team.Bst bet i guess tym wud be hesh- bopanna , saina , mary and (sushil vijendra duo)..fingers crossed All the bst team India :)

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    1. 10 Golds? Maybe we are aiming too high there but if that happens that will be amazing. We can surely hope for 10 overall medals of course. Saina, Mary Kom, Deepika, Sushil, Vijender, Abhinav.. all of them are champions. Hopefully they will make our country proud, again. :)

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  5. Akshay

    First of all kudos to u for writing about things like boxing and archery . Just like the sports arena in our country cricket seemed to dominate blogosphere too . I love cricket but this is the first non- cricket sports post I am reading . Nice set of facts there . Let's wish our folks good luck at the games !

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    1. Thank you Jayashree. :) I love Cricket too, but I do give importance to other sports as well and not just Cricket. I am glad to know you liked my post. :) Our athletes need all the luck they can get. I'm sure it will help them secure a medal for the country. :)

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  6. in my opinion, whatever little success we get - and have got - in the olympics is a huge achievement, since many of our sportspersons have actually struggled to become who they are. while some have been lucky to have the resources to groom themselves, many of our medal winners have not had it so easy. on top of that is the tragedy of budgetary allocations for the development of sports which rarely ever reach those who need them. countries like china, european nations, etc., invest heavily in athletics and sports. in our case, we create associations that can be headed by politicians. your love for sports is obvious in the way you have written about it here, but we need to be realistic too. lets hope, this time, things really look up for the nation of billions. good to see a post from you, akshay babu.

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    1. Thank you Babu Moshai. :) Yes, I agree. Its been tough for athletes in our country. Whatever success they have achieved in the Olympics is because of their sheer hard work, overcoming all odds. Poor training and infrastructure facilities, corruption.. in-spite all that our athletes have performed to the best of their ability. Only if they had gotten better training and coaching facilities, our athletes would have been on par with the European, Chinese or the American athletes long back. But things are finally looking up for our athletes, those days of us expecting a solitary bronze or silver medal are gone. We can realistically expect at least 10 medals in this Olympics, which includes few individual golds too. So lets hope for the best. :)

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  7. I have heard that the facilities given to the Olympic players in other major countries is much more better then our players. I wish even Indian players would get the similar support and facility as that of others. Well, I am not so much into sports but when it comes to Olympics the interest naturally rises to know how many medals did we win..
    Got to know lots of the things regarding Olympics by this post of yours.. Well written Akshay :)

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    1. Yes, Sonia. Our athletes had to train in pathetic conditions, corruption plays a major role here, and that's the main reason why we haven't reached the sort of heights which we should have reached long ago in the Olympics, considering the great pool of talent we have. Anyways, this year looks promising, so lets hope for the best. If our athletes manage to get some medals back from the games, it will surely help improve infrastructure and facilities in that sport. Thank you Sonia, I am glad you liked my post. :)

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  8. Wonderful post Akshay and so good to hear from you after a long time :)

    That was a great insight into all the Olympic happenings in a nutshell! It is definitely something I am eagerly looking forward to and hoping that we make it big this time! Fingers crossed for the best!

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    1. Thank you so much Arti, always makes me very happy to see your comments on my post. :)

      Yes, I am hoping for the same. *Fingers crossed for the best!* :)

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  9. I wonder how much is feasible for the Indian contingent though I do long for loads of medals for the country. But, I think our priority is still not sports and sports training :(.

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    1. Yes, very true. But we can improve our sports only when we improve our training facilities. Every passing year things are looking up on that front but we still have a long way to go. Thank you for your comment. :)

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  10. I still remember Atlanta. Paes saved us another humiliation. I used to look up at the tally..many tiny countries had better positions.
    Only prayer was our enemy Pakistan wouldn't win anything

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    1. I agree. It was embarrassing to see the names of the countries we may have never heard of, like Azerbaijan winning a couple of golds and we were struggling to win a Silver or a Bronze.

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  11. Akshay,

    A wonderful compilation..and one can see you are quite a sports-enthusiast!! Let's hope that India will snatch a few gold medals...amen!I believe in positive thinking :D:D

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    1. Thank you Panchili Ma'm. Yes, I love my Cricket but I love other sports too, and Olympics brings out lots of emotions in me. I hope so too, its about time we showed the world what we are made of in the Olympic arena. :)

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  12. I hope to see some good number medals in India's kitty this time.

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    1. Yes, we all are hoping for the same. Thank you Rajesh for stopping by. :)

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  13. I wish bro! I read this already in my mailbox :D

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    1. Thanks a lot bro for reading and liking it. :)

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  14. I guess so :)
    we will get better medals than the previous events

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    1. Hahaha! Mr. Kalmadi. :D
      Thanks bro, I hope so too, we've got a great chance this time. :)

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  15. That was very succinctly written Akshay. You brought out everything about 2012 Olympics and India’s representation contingent. I too remember the days when I used to follow Olympics so diligently (when it was aired more exhaustively during the Doordarshan days) and be awed by USSR, US and China sweeping the medals and wondering when I would see our countrymen achieve such glory. As you pointed out so exquisitely, there is a lot of talent this year (some well known and some unknown) that carry India’s hopes on their shoulders. Sometimes I feel, they carry too much a burden on their poor shoulders. But I wish and hope they do really well at the Olympics.

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    1. Thank you so much Raj for that wonderful comment, really appreciate it. Yes, as the day approaches our expectations are climbing higher and higher. Our athletes are already under immense pressure but I just hope they come out trumps and win lots of medals for the country. :)

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  16. HI Akshay

    You have been tagged at my post - http://jaishwrites.blogspot.sg/2012/07/i-got-taggedmy-answers-and-qns.html

    Regards

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    1. Thank you so much Jayashree. Will check it out now. :)

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  17. I had seen your post but did not get a chance to read it. I am not much of a sport enthusiast but I am a nationalist..! I want India to win as many gold medals as possible :)

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    1. Thank you Ghazala for taking time out to read my post. Hope your wish comes true and we win many gold medals. :)

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  18. Good work Akshay. I was trying to get a quick update on Indian Olympics dream and your post standed out. Sad to see the medal tally this year too. Hoping for the best !

    Angie

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    1. Thank you Angie for stopping by. Yes, its been a pretty disappointing performance this year too, so far. But we have finally got on board by winning a bronze medal in shooting again, today. Its a good beginning, we can still hope to win medals in few disciplines, so lets hope for the best. :)

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  19. Akshay....Yay!..so we brought one bronze ! hope the shooter inspires the other athletes..!I suddenly remembered this post...so came back.:))

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    1. Thank you Ma'm for re-visiting this post. Its been a pretty disappointing campaign for India so far. My favorite athlete, Deepika Kumari lost in the first round itself, had very high hopes on her. :( Anyways we still have Saina going great guns, hoping she could get a medal for us. :)

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  20. It is so embarrassing to see the medal tally now. The sportsmen who have won a medal is their own effort. Govt claims it's spending so much for the upliftment of sports but the ground reality is that the money doesn't go for real cause.

    Anyway, to cheer ourselves up here's my Olympic medal tally. :)
    http://www.lemonicks.com/Travel/2012/08/07/olympic-coins-anyone/

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    1. Exactly. The 4 medals we have won so far is because of the sheer hard work and dedication of our athletes and not because of our Govt. This is the best performance by India in terms of number of medals won, we have never won 4 medals in a single Olympics before. We can still have hopes on Sushil Kumar to win one more. So hopefully things will start to look up in future.

      And some lovely souvenirs you got there. Nice collection. :)

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  21. True Akshay. There is so much of talent lying around here , somehow not getting recognized at the national level. Again, this year has not been that great a year for us, But I'm at least happy we are participating in many different disciplines and hope that for the next time, there are more participants in the other disciplines as well. if only the politicians the government officials kept out of all this, it would do the country a lot good.

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    1. There are so many challenges our athletes have to go through to get some recognition in our country. They had to fight through poor infrastructure, poor training and coaching facilities and most of all, corruption. In-spite of all that they have performed exceptionally well. We ought to be proud of them. :)

      Yes, its indeed nice to see we are participating in different disciplines, we may not be medal prospects in those events but we are still out there competing, which is good. Hopefully things will start to look up in future. Thanks for your comment, Ash. :)

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  22. i completely agree there is loads of talent in this country which is not discovered..even if u c the little girls who rope walk on the streets and entertain ppl to earn their living they are no less than gymnasts just that they dont have formal training,medium,guidance and then of course a big problem to deal with food and shelter..hopfuly things will change with time

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    1. Yes, very true. We have talent in abundance, but those talents don't get discovered unfortunately for various reasons, be it poverty or corruption. Sometimes the talents even if spotted might not get the kind of global exposure it needs to compete at the highest level like the Olympics. To top that we have poor training, coaching and infrastructure facilities which again becomes another hindrance for our athletes. Still we won 6 medals, the highest medal haul ever. So hopefully things will only get better from now on. :)

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  23. Very informative article ...Thanks for sharing..

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  24. Knowledgeable article ...Keep posting..

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  25. Nice Article ..really informative

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