Lack of infrastructure, absence of a proper structure and to lack of vision on part of the government has led to India being a mere participant in the Olympic games. And despite witnessing a few athletes rising above the system and securing a medal, it is embarrassing that a country of 1.2 billion people isn’t able to garner double digit medals at the Olympic games.
You could blame it on the mindset of Indian people, who don’t let their children take up sport as a profession because of the uncertainty attached to it. But why is there this uncertainty? Why do parents not let their kids get too attracted to the world of sport?
It is because at the ‘Junior’ and ‘Youth’ level players aren’t provided with enough money and only when they make it really big on the circuit are they provided with decent amount of funds, something that is extremely essential for a sportsperson to fund his/her own training, diet etc.
So, when you take money out of the equation, people start to fear the profession, not because they aren’t passionate enough, but because passion doesn’t pay the bills.
Until there are no proper systems in place and there are proper incentives provided to athletes, people will be apprehensive towards taking up a sport professionally.
Abhinav Bindra shares the same school of thought, and believes that keeping the current situation in mind, India shouldn’t focus on the 2020 games, rather the focus should be on the 2024 Olympics. He believes that a major overhaul is required and that isn’t possible now because there is very little time less for the 2020 games. Things can only be streamlined now, and streamlining isn’t what is needed for us to get double digit medals.
“No, for 2020 (Olympics), the time is too short. Just a couple of years down the road and you can’t really make any significant changes. You have to just try and streamline whatever you have. It would be a mistake to completely, radically change everything. Any change takes time to set in,” the 34-year-old shooter said when asked about the road ahead for India’s Olympic sports.
“In all fairness, we should just forget about 2020 (Olympics) and maybe start working for 2024 (Olympics) and beyond 2024, 2028 (Olympics). That requires the systems, that requires long term investment, that requires patience. We need to set systems in order and hopefully those systems and that investments that you put in through a significant amount of time, will bear fruit sometimes down the road,”
“If sporting success is important to us and if it’s high on our priority, then we are going to do it, and we are going to do it by getting best people in the world and try and set those systems up in this country. There is talent, there is huge amount of talent that exists, except that (the) talent needs to be nurtured right from the grassroots and taken up to the Olympic level,” he said.
When asked about his loss at the Rio Olympics, Bindra said that he didn’t regret it now as he had given his best.
“Time is the best healer. Acceptance. You accept what the reality is and move on. Sometimes, we try and resist things too much. An event happened, you can’t change the result, so accept it and move on. At the end of the day, I had a lot of internal satisfaction because I did the best. In athletes life one is not scared of failure, one is not scared of doing badly. I had no regret because I put my best into it (the performance),”