Games : A Costly Affair

Photo Credit: President House, India

Markandey Katju /

Why does India, having a population of 1.25 billion people, perform so poorly in sports ? Why have we not won a single medal as yet in the Rio Olympics ?
There are two answers.
(1) Modern sports are very expensive, and so usually only rich countries do well in international events.
There are of course exceptions. Ethiopian runners like Haile Gebrselassie have performed superbly in long distance races. Anthony Nesty from a tiny poor country Surinam won a gold medal in the Seoul Olympics defeating the famous American swimmer Matt Biondi. But these are exceptions.
Modern sports require a lot of money for training the sportspersons, providing them the best kits ( which are often very expensive ), providing them nourishing food ( which 75% or more Indians do not get ), getting the services of medical experts ( some of whom can even tell how to develop a particular muscle in the leg to run faster ), gadgets and other machinery ( which are also often expensive ) needed to improve performance, etc. These are often not available to sportspersons in a poor country like India, and it was so stated by Mary Kom in her speech in Parliament recently.
(2) Most Indian youth want a life long career, whereas in sports usually one's career ends before 30 years of age. After that the sportsperson is usually left to fend for himself/herself. Many retired Indian sportspersons are living in great poverty, and nobody cares for them. So most of our youth do not pursue sports seriously after a certain time, thinking they will starve later on.if they do so.
So to win a lot of medals in the Olympics and other international events we have to make India a highly prosperous country
.

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