Sunday, November 28, 2010

More Indian sport

I love posts where I can say “I told you so”. After the 2008 Olympics, I wondered if this was a new dawn in Indian sport. The events of the 2010 asian games have strengthened my belief that it is indeed so. True, the shooters haven’t lived up to their potential, and the archers didn’t do as well as they did in the commonwealth games, but take one look at the details of the medal tally, and you’ll see what I am talking about.

A 1-2 finish in the women’s 10k race. A 2-3 finish in the 5k race. Gold in the steeplechase event. Gold in the women’s 400m hurdles after 24 years. Gold in the men’s 400m for the first time ever (unless Milkha Singh won it in his time). Gold in rowing. First time medals in skating and gymnastics. Golds in boxing. This games have been quite good for India.

What is also heartening is the manner in which these medals were won. Take for instance, Joseph Abraham’s last minute push to get the gold or Sudha Singh’s desperate lunge to finish first – how many times in the past have we seen Indian athletes overcome their opposition when placed in such situations?

Rest assured, things will improve. These heroes will now encourage more sportsmen and women in the country to come forward. With government support and strong private sector participation, not to mention rising confidence in Indian abilities, the future looks bright. Of course, the 2012 olympics will tell us how far we have come, but I’m more confident than ever that we have crossed one, if not all the hurdles in the way of sporting success.