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India at Asian Games: Should we be Proud?

“Rahi Sarnobat becomes first Indian woman to shoot Asiad gold” – The Hindu

“India win one gold, two bronze medals in rowing on Day 6” – Hindustan Times

All the more reason to be proud after celebrating 72nd Independence Day on 15th August 2018.

The celeberatory vibe in the air is evident and understandable. 

Today, we are going to take a closer look at how our country has been performing at Asian Games over the years. 

For those of you who are new, Asian Games are also known as Asiad. It is a quadrennial multi-sports events played amongst various countries of continent Asia. The very first Asiad were hosted by India (New Delhi) in the year 1951. Until 1978, the Games were regulated by the Asian Games Federation (AGF), after which Olympics Council of Asia (OCA) started organising the Games.

So far only 9 nations have hosted the games, with India hosting them twice (in 1951 and 1978). Also, only seven countries have completed all the editions of the Asian Games, including India. Indonesia is hosting the 18th Asian Games for a group of 46 countries (including Indonesia) from 18th August 2018 to 02nd September 2018.

The scorecard of recent (2018) Asian Games is –

Rank Country Total Medals Gold Silver Bronze
1 China 289 132 92 65
2 Japan 205 75 56 74
3 Republic of Korea 177 49 58 70
8 India 69 15 24 30

Note! The stark difference between the top performers in the Games and the performance of India, with China winning almost nine times more number of Gold Medals.

However, one thing to be proud about is that THIS IS THE BEST OUR COUNTRY HAS EVER DONE in Asian Games, by winning highest number of medals (including Golds as well).

The scorecard of the last three Asian Games held in the years 2014, 2010 and 2006 –

 

Rank

Country

Total Medals

Total Golds

2014

1

China

342

151

2

South Korea

228

79

3

Japan

200

47

8

India

57

11

2010

1

China

416

199

2

South Korea

232

76

3

Japan

216

48

6

India

65

14

2006

1

China

316

165

2

South Korea

193

58

3

Japan

200

50

8

India

53

10

Doesn't it seem that China has a monopoly in the Asian Games?

Afterall China has won 10 Games out the total 12 played. No doubt! It won another Asian Games. This year's!

India's performance in the last 10 Asian Games –

Year

Rank

Total Medals

Gold Medals

2014

8

57

11

2010

6

65

14

2006

8

53

10

2002

7

36

11

1998

9

35

7

1994

8

22

4

1990

11

23

1

1986

5

37

5

1982

5

57

13

1978

6

52

11

By observing India’s performance over the last 10 Asian Games, one can certainly say that it has not improved, even if it managed not to drop below the 11th rank. This is when we are playing within our continent. At Olympics (global) level, the result is all the more disappointing, where we barely manage to secure more than 2 gold medals.

Not feeling proud anymore? Well! We understand.

One can always argue that the developed countries have the resources (such as money, infrastructure, etc.) and the manpower, that enables them to secure top three ranks and win more gold medals than India. While all of this is true, but few things that one can always note are –

  • Most of the developed countries have ensured that sports become a part of the lives of their citizens by including sports in its curriculum, paying scholarships to students involved in sports and many other ways. Thus developing players and champions from the very young age only.
  • In developed countries the resources are more, thus more people aim to compete and represent their nation at international level and hence, the competition is tougher for the players. Only the cream of players are sent to international levels.
  • In the developed countries, the policies related to sports and representing the nation on an international platforms such as Olympics, Asian Games, etc. are stricter and more rigid towards merit of the player. 

These are some of the reasons why developed countries perform better than India. Now we shall understand why India perform poorer than the other countries despite being the second most populous country in the world.

  • Poverty – Due to the lack of money, a division a created in the society because of which the potential players do not even get the training and equipment required, let alone the equal opportunities of participation. Even the funding by the governments are either negligible or not at all present. For instance – Abhinav Bindra (only Gold-medallist in shooting in Olympics) after Rio Olympics, spoke about the lack of government funding.
  • Lack of infrastructure – To win at international level, one should have the access to coaches, facilities and infrastructure, all of which are missing in India. Most of the player have made their career and participated at international level, through self-funding only.
  • Lack of Sports Culture – Renowned sports journalist Boria Majumdar once said, “Unless there is synergized sports culture, you will never win a string of medals. A fundamental overhaul is needed and urgently so.” Due to absence of such culture, the much needed supportive environment for player is missing.
  • Lack of encouragement – Sports is never looked as a career in India; parents discourage their kids from pursuing sports as a career for the sake of better job security. The situation becomes all the more grave for girls who want to participate in sports.
  • Cricket frenzy country – What could said about a country where cricket is given more importance than the national game hockey, not only by fans and media but also by the government as well? Indians have grown obsessed by cricket. Apart from cricket there is no sports which is given any importance by anyone, except for during Asian Games, Commonwealth Games or Olympics. 
  • Politics in sports – Politics has grasped India hard time and it is even present in sports. Players are chosen based on their connections instead of their talent. Personal choices and prejudices of coaches and selection committee results in talented players being benched, while non-deserving players represent and fail India at international level. 
  • Corruption in sports – We do not have strict policies in place that could address the corruption. Players are tested positive in drug tests and they are let go easily. Authorities are accused of being involved in defaming players and no enquires are done. This demotivates deserving players.
  • Lack of exposure – While players put in their best efforts to excel at international level, they simply lack the exposure of participating at international events, thus do not get the opportunities to hone their skills accordingly.

Even with all these negatives the Indian players have managed to secure medals at International levels. Think of Asian Games, Commonwealth Games or Olympics where the deserving players got all the support and encouragement: that Games would be the best for India, in that Games India would secure the maximum medals and gold medals. In that Games, our national anthem would be played numerous times in the stadium.


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