gold rush

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 16 Apr 2018 12:17:07

IT HAD been a gold rush for Indian sportsmen right from the beginning of the 21st Commonwealth Games which concluded on Sunday at Gold Coast, Australia. Earnings of the medals for the Indian contingent were well spread out with the Indian boys and girls exploring new areas and coming out trumps, like the Table Tennis and javelin throw events. These were newer areas of success for Indian boys and girls. In disciplines like badminton, wrestling, weightlifting, boxing, shooting, Indian proficiency and even dominance was unmistakable and it was these disciplines that fetched great rewards for the Indian contingent.
Though not unpredictable, both Indian hockey teams, men and women, proved to be the biggest disappointment and disaster. The men’s hockey team could not defend its silver medal position of the last edition of Glasgow Commonwealth Games. This time it finished a poor fourth in the over all standing. The Indian men’s hockey team began its Commonwealth Games campaign on a lacklustre note and ended it in the same vein. Hence its fourth position finish was no surprise. Those looking after the promotion of the game in the country, the coaches and the players themselves, need to introspect on this pathetic situation. The situation about women’s hockey is no different. Much effort will be required to raise the standards to international levels where other countries have gone far ahead of India, in a game that was considered as the national game.

While it is heartening that India has finished third on the medals table of the Commonwealth Games, the difference and distance between the topper of the table Australia or even runner-up England and India is too vast. For that matter the fourth-placed Canada with 82 medals is much ahead of third placed India with 66 medals. Of course India’s higher Gold medals tally has catapulted the country to the third position. That is indicative of the emergence of world class players. However, it is necessary for the country’s sports organisers to put on their thinking caps and think of ways to close the gap with the top ranking countries in the world. The country is still way behind China, Japan, South Korea, the US, the European nations.
This shows that India has a long way to go to be among world’s sporting powers and cannot rest on these laurels. Commonwealth Games’ medals tally shows that while India has achieved proficiency in some games, its near absence in athletics, track and field events, gymnastics is very glaring. Much work needs to be done to promote sports all over the country with planned efforts at individual, institutional and Government levels with a long-term vision. The society too will have to give due importance to sports as an essential part of human development.