Monday, August 11, 2008

India's First Individual Gold Medal at the Olympics

Pic: Courtesy Getty Images

Abhinav Bindra makes India proud by winning the the first individual gold medal for 10 meters rifle shooting. Bindra at the age of 25 has not only created an Olympian achievement for himself, but has also set the standards for a generation that can now dare to hope for achievement more strongly. While India has scraped 8 gold medals for field hockey, Bindra was the first Indian to win his country an individual gold medal.

At the inaugral ceremonies of the Olympics on Friday, Indian athletes walked in their sharwani clothes acknowledging the cheers from the audience. The announcer was saying how India whose population has exceeded China has won only less than 10 medals during the past years, while China has not only amazed the world by putting up such a spectacular opening of the 2008 Summer Oylmpics, but also proudly competes with the US in almost every sport and rivals its medal tally. As you can see, China has thoroughly trained and prepared well for this event. Their hardwork and the pride with which they are hosting this event shows through.

Sports and athletics in India lack the importance that is given to it unlike in some other countries. This is because from a young age, when children start playing or spend too much time outdoors playing, not all parents encourage or welcome it. Most of them reprimand their kids and ask them to quit playing and focus on studying and getting good grades. As a result, there are fewer number of Leander Pears, Mahesh Bhoopathy, Prakash Padkone, Narain Karthikeyan and Abhinav Bindra's created. So, how can we complain that India sends lesser number of athletes to compete at the Olympic level? Also, sports such as shooting, tennis etc. are all considered affluent people's sports and yes, require spending lots of money to get a professional trainer/coach, getting the required gear, equipment, etc. Also, do we have the Bill Bellicheck, Phil Jackson like pro-coaches and trainers to mould our athletes, even if we have such talent, could we afford to pay them to keep them. With so many cons on our side, we can hardly hope for better performances at the Olympics.

But, with Abhinav Bindra's victory in shooting, there is some hope for the athletically inclined Indian youngsters to dream big and draw inspiration to work towards those lofty goals.

Bindra makes one and every Indian proud and happy with his individual achievement.


Mukul said...

Glad to find Indians abroad honouring Indian heroes. Shooting is an elitisit sport, but their is a huge Indian upper midle class who can afford shooting and other expensive sports. You must see the large number of expensive cars in Delhi,Mumbai ( or even in Ludhiana). Its not the expense but something else lacking in our culture which has prevented sporting success.

Jayashree said...

It really is a proud moment for India, but it should also make our Sports Minister sit up, take notice and see why a nation with such a HUGE population sends so few people to the Olympics. If we were to train more athletes and send them to compete, we'd surely have more medals coming our way.

Priya said...

A great moment isn't it and congrats to him for his great success.

Only when politics and games differ, Indians can shine and be given opportunity including the let go of east/west/north/south but being Indian.

Shankar said...

With everyone trying to make it big, lack of proper infrastructure makes them neglect sports after a point and they just start doing it for fun rather than considering it seriously.... How many people do we know discontinuing their sports coaching during their tenth/twelfth classes here... Think what the IPL did to cricket, other sports are no where in reach to catch up...Hope fate of other sports change too....

Cham said...

Yes, indeed a great news.
Abhi should be a great example - I would say India should be Proud of him! Where Sports re neglected.

Uma said...

With Independence day approaching, this is indeed a great news! I haven't been following the olympics this time. Thanks Mitr.

Three things are waiting for you at my blog. Come and collect them.

I hope you like them!

flyingstars said...

I just can't agree more with your thoughts...I also share the same views and discussing the sporting affairs in our country will take a huge time...I admire abhinav bindra or the other sportsmen who are winning medals in different competitions because its because of their sheer hardwork, will and passion, as the support from the public authorities is very less. i India needs more commercialism & professionalism of the Olympic sports with training from the grassroots level & look beyond cricket to see more medal winners in international events...Abhinav really made India proud....nicely written post!

Cuckoo said...

Couldn't have agreed more with you on this.
Parents don't allow children to play & waste time & money. However, since last decade we are seeing some changes if it is cricket or tennis. Other games are still ignored.


Madhuram said...

I completely blame CRICKET for this state of affairs in our country. Both the Govt. as well as corporates don't seem to give attention to other sports and players. Cricket is considered as a golden duck, which gives huge riches and popularity at the same time.

Aparna said...

Congrats to Bindra getting India an individual gold medal after 28 years!!
Obviously with the OIympics in full swing, this debate is going on everywhere - a nation of a billion people and just 56 athletes, hardly any medals to boast of. There was one interview that happened; Sorry don't remember who it was, but the comment stayed in my mind- he said "Cricket is claimed to be popular. It is controlled by an individual board. Just give it to the government like all other sports, and then see what cricket becomes in 2 years!"
Fine there are not many people taking up sports, but why is it that those who have taken it up cannot compete well and win? We fail in our national game, we don't even qualify most of the time!
As Mukul says, shooting is an elitist sport just as tennis,rowing, cycling(u can't compete on a BSA/Hero cycle...they have carbon-fibre cycles!!)and the likes.... All sports, to compete at an international level, seem like you have to have the backing. Now the various govts. are giving mega rewards to Bindra, but his father had to spend on top of the grant given by the govt. How many parents would be willing to do that? Most would say I would spend on your education that would help in future providing a stable job till you retire instead of spending on sports which is definitely not a long term can only be a secondary career at least here in India.
Apart from the money, to go through all the politics!! No wonder people would rather get something else done!!
I really admire & applaud the few who have actually made it to the events. Seriously, participation itself is a huge deal after going past all the hurdles!! :D
Sorry to have taken up so much space :)
Just a small parting note, having gone to the Olympics, I wish the women had worn their national costumes or something like that..instead of the track suits that some wore. Come on! you are representing your country. Be proud to show off your culture too when you can. I am not saying wear saree/salwar while competing...but the opening ceremony?!?
Well, it was not so small a parting note ;) Sorry again :D

AJEYA RAO said...

Indeed this victory has made India proud. I wish this will encourage the Govt to concentrate on these players more than just awards.

Sireesha said...

I have small treat for u in my blog:))
Thats a Great News.....Indeed this victory has made India Proud......

Mukul said...

We suck even in cricket. Look at the team selection; selectors persist with Sachin and other tired war horses not because they re no other talented youngsters, but because of the rampant kickbacks they receive from ad agencies for selecting these players. Why blame cricket when cricket itself is in disrepute? The root cause is corruption in sports management ( as in other walks of life). Where the sports are not generating large money, corruption is relatively petty, but is amazingly prevalent. In govt departments like Railways which reserve jobs for sports persons, atleast 50 % jobs are doled out to undeserving candidates. Many stop playing seriously once they achieve their life time desire- to get a job.

The other cause is free loaders; most sporting bodies are manned by self serving politicians and babus who have only rheir egos to mange, sports be damned. Extreme examples are Football- Priya Rnjan Das Munshi who has succeeded in India becoming 152nd from 3o0 odd position when he became the Football chief 20 years ago, and KPS Gill, a supercop who has successfully destroyed Indian hockey in last decade.

Bharathy said...

Great news!..

Honestly I am not updating myself with the olympic news..and nice to know the news from here. :)

I have a few awards waiting for you in my place,:)

Mavin said...

This is a great achievement. It is definitely a matter of great pride for all Indians.

The best part is, he is not a product of our sports system. His success has come despite our sports administrators.

He has a personal air conditioned practice range with the latest computerised target management system. Plus he has a personal trainer - a Swiss lady.

We have a big open air training range in Mumbai but in a serious state of disrepair.

If similar facilities are made available, I am sure we could have aimed at 4 - 5 golds in the shooting category.

This, however, does not diminish in any way Abhinav's stupendous achievements. It is not his fault that he can afford the best facilities at his cost.

mitr_bayarea said...

Mukul- interesting to hear your observations, agree.

Jayashree- absolutely right, our sports minister must provide all the infrastructure and promos needed.

Priya- that is also true, we are so divided in India.

Shankar- yes, at some point sports starts becoming a palying for fun thing rather than making a career out of it.

Cham- indeed a proud moment for Indians.

Uma- Thanks for the awards, it is very nice of you.

Flying stars- thanks for adding that Bindra made it on his own without much support from the authorities.

Cuckoo- welcome here, rightly said cricket and tennis are the only 2 sports that are welcomed to some degree by parents.

Madhuram- Indeed, cricket seems to the only riding wave for popularity in Indian sports.

Aparna- First of all, thanks for taking the time to type up your thoughts. Agree that shooting is an elitist sport and you have correctly pointed out what Bindra's dad had to provide for him and the kind of resources he had to do that. On the costumes, it was probably good to show off on their sharwanis ):

Ajeya- Aaha, it will be good to remember that the players come first and then the awards galore.

Sireesha- thank you for the awards, appreciate the gesture.

Mukul- Thanks for promoting this healthy discusssion and giving ur 2cents on the whole cricket thing and highlighting with other sports people examples.

Bharathy- Thank you very much for the awards.

Mavin- Great additional information on Bindra's background stints, it is indeed appluadable that Bindra succeeded amidst the sports administrators.

na_an said...

Yes Abhinav has really made us proud. :-) His parents recognized his talent at a young age and encouraged him to achieve. Hats off to them too :-)

Aparna said...

Yeah I know the guys wore sherwanis...but there were a couple of athletes (women who wore track suits and another in a green saree...) The guys looked splendid...those others, just wished they wore something to show off our culture :)

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