The entire nation of over 1.2 billion people was following Rio Olympics very closely since its inception earlier this month. But barring a few exceptional performances by Dipa Karmakar, Sakshi Mallik and PV Sindhu, this Olympics will go down in the history as a disappointing one from the Indian perspective.
In Beijing Olympics 2008, India won 1 gold and 2 bronze medal. Four years later, our athletes played better helping India win 2 silver and 4 bronze medals at London Olympics 2012.
But this year, despite all the hopes and expectations – India could manage just 1 silver and 1 bronze at Rio de Janeiro – while placing itself at the miserable 67th position as per the latest ranking.
Indian athletes might have performed below expectations this time but whatever they did with limited resources and facility is indeed laudable. The hapless state of our sports infrastructure is known to everyone, but the mess created at Rio Olympics has only brought more embarrassment to the nation.
Apathy towards Indian Athletes Continues At Rio Olympics
It’s quite easy to slam athletes for their dismal performance at Rio Olympics 2016 but back home they lack even the basic amenities and respect that they well deserve. In a cricket-obsessed country, we remember our athletes only during big tournaments like the Olympics, and once the contest concludes, we forget everything.
Is it believable that on one hand, we have star cricketers and politicians who travel on business class while our athletes travel in economy class? Athlete Dutee Chand has clearly cited her 36-hour flight journey on economy class without good seat and cushion as the reason of her failure at this year’s Olympics. Yes, bad seat deprived her much needed 8-hour sleep necessary before any match.
Similarly, Indian Hockey team comprising of the members of the both men and women’s squad skipped the dinner hosted by Ministry of youth and sports affairs, when they were given peanuts to eat for dinner. At such an important event like the Olympics, players’ diet should have been given paramount importance which they didn’t get at this event.
Another shocking fact was the non-availability of a physiotherapist for Dipa Karmakar – who made all of us proud with her Produnova vault – she wanted a physiotherapist since the start of the tournament, but the government turned down her demand. In hindsight, it seems that she might have won at least a bronze medal which she missed by whisker had she got a physiotherapist.
When Sprinter OP Jaisha Collapsed at Rio Olympics
While competing for a race at the Olympics Marathon, sprinter OP Jaisha collapsed midway due to dehydration and lack of water. Indian officials didn’t offer her the refreshment drinks and water which sprinters need during marathon. It was only after 3 hours of special care by the medical experts that she finally gained consciousness.
Recalling that dreadful incident, OP Jaisha said to Times of India,
“Though there were officials from all other countries to provide refreshments to their runners at designated points-after every 2.5 km-there was no one from India and our desks were empty next to the country’s name and flag.”
Indian racers like Jaisha and Kavita had nothing for refreshment at the race. Horrific it may sound but when Jaisha lie collapsed on the race court Indian doctors were nowhere. They rushed to Jaisha soon after realizing that she was serious.
What Went Wrong At Rio Olympics?
Most of the controversies at Rio Olympics involving India pointed towards the indifferent attitude of the Indian federation and the authority. The Indian Olympic Association has admitted the lapse in the system and stated that our athletes don’t get that much support as they need.
It’s high time the sports federation and government must work in tandem to help our athletes chase their dreams without any further hitch. This will pave the way for India to win lots more gold medals at Tokyo Olympics 2020.