The Olympics are coming to an end, probably as I type this, and I haven't seen a single minute of it on TV. Explanation for that, another time. But I'm struck, as I'm sure many others in this country are, by the monumental failure of Indians to win medals, at this or any other Olympics. The Bahamas won 2, for crying out loud! (Last time I checked -- who knows if that count is up by now). Aren't there more people on my street here in Bombay than in the entire Bahamas?
Everyone has theories, of course. We lack the killer instinct, there's too much politics, the sportsmen are satisfied with a trip to the Olympics and have no desire to win, our standards are pitiful, facilities are bad, you've heard them all and you most certainly don't want to hear them from me. So let me just present instead a short list of points about our Olympic performance that have presented themselves over the last two weeks:
1) "One billion people and we can't produce an Indian-born PM" -- a sentence heard in many quarters last May, when Madame Sonia might have become PM. Merits or otherwise of that apart, stack it up against this sentence: "One billion people and we can't produce an Olympic gold medal." Fair comparison? Why or why not?
2) Why the great hopes from our hockey team every four years when nobody -- repeat that, nobody -- goes to watch them play in domestic matches? I've been to games here in Bombay where Dhanraj Pillay -- arguably the Sachin of the game -- is playing, and there have been two people in the stand. Including me. If we don't care to watch 'em, why do we want 'em to win?
3) Major Rathore won a silver and congrats to him. What an achievement. He also told the Times that his Army batallion had killed "more than 300 terrorists". This thought came to mind: how you react to that probably says something about your political persuasion. Yes?
4) Why have we never taken to running the medium and longer distances? Surely simple running -- at least getting going doing it -- doesn't need fancy equipment or facilities. If Kenya, Ethiopia and Morocco can produce streams of fine runners, surely we can too?
5) Should tennis be in the Olympics? Especially men's singles? Gold medalists have included Nicolas Massu and Marc Rosset -- no disrespect, but these are not dudes who set the tennis circuit on fire. Do the Olympics leave the top men's players flat? (OK, Agassi won in '96, Kafelnikov in '00). Besides, considering tennis has four top tournaments and a host of lesser ones, really, should it be in the Olympics at all?
All for now, folks. Got myself an atom feed, many thanks to Sandeep. I'm still working this blogging stuff out.