ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Sports : Many-Sided Failure

Many-Sided Failure With painstaking monotony every four years, with a lot accompanying hoo-ha, we send a team to the Olympics

With painstaking monotony every four years, with a lot of accompanying hoo-ha, we send a team to the Olympics – athletes competing over a range of events and at the end of the two weeks or so of that feast of sports, regularly bemoan our inability to win medals. Even more striking than the lack of stellar performances from our athletes and sportspersons is the incredible lack of faith, at all levels, in the teams that we send. It prompts a nagging question: If indeed nobody believed we could get anywhere near the medals, then why send the teams at all?

Flippant as it sounds, this is really a serious question and should be explored. For it is this lack of faith in athletes, athletics and sports that is at the root of India's inability to emerge as a sporting nation, except for cricket. Let us take an example: Beenamol ran two heats, in one of which she bettered her best timing; before her semi finals her coach, when asked about her chances, could only point out that after all she had never run three races against tough competition before and reportedly could come up with no particular strategy for the all important race. Commentators (who, one felt, had probably never been near a track) in that monumental failure of an experiment, the DD sports channel's 24-hour Olympics coverage, announcing Beenamol's inclusion in the semi final could only talk of the 'tough' opposition she would have to compete against – not a gesture of support was evident; and hardly anyone had a word of encouragement for the struggling athlete. So geared was everybody to her failure that it came as no surprise that she ran one of her worst races. A similar psychological block was evident in the attitude of the hockey team in its crucial game in contrast to the mindset of the Koreans in game after game, playing as underdogs in the competition.

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