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India’s pathetic show at the Olympics continue Need to change mentality

Participation is more important than winning. This is the spirit of the Olympics, but unfortunately it is obvious that this has been literally taken and digested here in India. A look at the performance of the country in the ongoing Rio Olympics should more than say this. A drastic change in the mindset is urgently needed for the country to march ahead in international sports or else India will continue to be the favourite whipping boys of other countries. It is this mindset which is behind the dismal record on the medals tally in successive Olympics. So far India has produced 24 medalists in all the Olympics held so far. Compare this with an individual, Michael Phelps of the USA, who has bagged 28 Olympic medals including 23 gold medals inclusive of 13 individual gold medals. An individual who has won more medals than a Nation with more than a 100 crore population and this should be seen beyond the statistics. To any observer it will be more than evident that all those who qualify for the Olympics are all medal prospects and the line that divides the winners and the losers will obviously go beyond the individual skills of the competitors. It all boils down to the mental strength of the sportsperson and this is where the mentality that participation is more important than winning needs to be given a review. There is a reason why there are professionals called sports psychologists. India should learn how to utilise their service and see how they can help the sportspersons cope with the mental pressure while competing at the highest level.
A study of why India seems to be competitive only in cricket will be helpful. As everyone knows, cricket is run by the Board of Control for Cricket India (BCCI) which is free of the Government. So while other sports governing bodies, which come under the Government have miserably failed, the BCCI manages to make cricketing competitive and there is a lesson to be learnt here. Despite the below performance dished out by sportspersons from the country at the ongoing Olympics it is heartening to note that there are six players in different disciplines from Manipur who are part of the contingent from India. The six have not been able to match the performance of Mary Kom, who boxed her way to the Bronze at the London Olympics in 2012, but it is still noteworthy that a small State with just about 28 lakh people has been able to send six to the Indian contingent. No medals won but their merit should be acknowledged and it is here that the State Government ought to be reminded of the essence of timing. In all its wisdom the State Government announced that a cash prize of Rs 2 crore to any gold medalists from the State. This is fine but look at the timing of the announcement. It came after the Indian contingent had already reached Rio. It would have been so much better if this announcement had come two or three months earlier as it would have given the right motivation to the players to prepare well.



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