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Emerging Out Of Cricket's Shadow

 

Having performed impressively at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi and the Asian Games at Guangzhou, Indian sportsmen have perhaps created the perfect platform for other sports to breach the cricket barrier
SHOAIB AHMED | Issue Dated: January 9, 2011
Tags : CWG | New Delhi | Karnam Malleswari | India | Olympic |
 

After India’s recent exploits in New Delhi and Guangzhou, there is collective contentment and belief that Indian sports and more importantly the sportsperson are finally getting the share of attention they deserve. It could be seen as the beginning of a promising sporting era.
India has come a long way since 1900 when Norman Pritchard, a British descendant did his adopted country proud by winning two silver medals in 200m and 200m hurdles respectively and till date remains the only ‘Indian’ to win two Olympic medals.
A century hence, in 2008, Abhinav Bindra made history by becoming the first Indian to win an individual gold medal at the Olympics. Dare I say, his achievement ignited the spark of confidence other athletes solemnly needed. India won more than a hundred medals at CWG this year, 38 of which were gold, a record haul for India. At the Asian Games ’10, India managed a staggering 64 medals, another record. The overall performance of India at the events resulted in an all-time best of second and sixth spots respectively.
Seemingly impressive, especially owing to the numerous gold medals to boast about, any celebration at this point would be premature. At the Olympics, India, a country 1.2 billion people strong, has only one individual gold medal to show for. Also, India trails China 1204 to 128 in the overall gold medal tally at the Asian Games where the competition is said to be mild.
However, it would be treacherous not to applaud and acknowledge the achievements of our labouring athletes. Shooting for instance has been extremely instrumental in accumulating success. Out of the 38 CWG gold medals, our shooters shot 14. Not to forget, the sole silver medal in the Sydney Olympics was won by
a shooter.
Ace shuttler Saina Nehwal deserves plaudits for her hard fought performance to win India the 38th gold after a scintillating performance at CWG. Exactly the stuff heroes are made of and precisely, the example the Indian sporting fraternity needs. The Asian Games too have a remarkable story to tell. The spellbinding display was the performance of the Armyman Bajrang Lal Takhar from Sikar district of Rajasthan who sculled his way to gold. Vijender Singh and the Indian boxing team deserve a special mention, the former in particular, for his resilience and resurgence in clinching gold at the Asian Games after a heart-breaking semifinal loss at the CWG.

Many prominent athletes have voiced their support welcoming the favourable changes in the sports environment. Karnam Malleswari commented “It’s a big honour that Commonwealth Games is being organised in India”. Champion wrestler Sushil Kumar added “our job is to work hard and win medals”, before highlighting the
responsibility of the administrative bodies to promote the sports in question.
One particular sport which is steadily generating a strong cult following is football. It has gradually surged into the foray due to the unprecedented fame and support some of the European teams enjoy here in India. Though somewhat tainted for the same, the growing fan base has attracted interest from Arsenal F.C who are planning to open an academy soon, remarking that there is immense potential in India.
To top it all, New Delhi is slated to host the final race
of the upcoming Formula One season in December next year. The event will presumably put India on the sporting calendar, promote Indian sports and provide a much needed break to other as yet anonymous sporting disciplines. 

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017