While media is riling with imaginary anticipations and vile attributions to Anandiben’s resignation even when the Modi Government had in its very initial days of ascension to power had declared the age bar criteria of its cabinet ministers loud and clear.. While Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, who is a product of dharnas himself, has ostensibly banned demonstrations in front of his official residence in the national capital. While Pakistan declared terrorist Burhan Wani as a martyr and observed a black day in his honour and Hitting back at Pakistan for its duplicity, Home Minister Rajnath Singh asserted firmly that “there should be no glorification or eulogising of terrorists as martyrs.” While Delhi High Court, which had been hearing a series of petitions relating to AAP government Vs Central government appears to have decided to rule in favor of the Central government. And while The Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill, 2014 or simply the GST Bill, is passed with a unanimous 203 AYES, allow me, my friends to put forward the concern that should be on our minds as patriotic, concerned Indians: our performance as a nation at the Rio Olympics, 2016. While most would laugh it off, given the recent standoff on Salman Khan being elected as the goodwill ambassador to the same, let me put forward some arenas, where India really stands a chance to script history this time. Can we bring a rich haul this time? Can we cross the double figures in medals this time? Can we bring more than one gold medal? The answer is a probable, but resounding YES! YES, WE CAN!
Yes we can script history at the Rio Olympics, 2016, for now we have a contingent that is raring to go with all guns blazing, unlike previous times. Despite having the world’s second largest population, India stands really far behind in the total number of Olympic medals it has secured, which is twenty six (9 Golds, 6 Silvers & 11 Bronze Medals), only 4 more than the personal collection of the greatest swimmer in the world, Michael Phelps!
If I’m not wrong, according to one study, India has the least per capita success in Olympics, which is one medal per 38.3 crore people! The only sport where we managed to turn the world’s eyes quite a many times, was field hockey, where we’re the most successful team till date, with 8 Golds, 1 Silver & 2 Bronze Medals. However, the last medal we won in hockey was the last Gold Medal in Moscow, some 36 years ago. Yes, 36 years ago. Since then, we have been shining, but only in individual disciplines. We can blame it on the same old issues of corruption and vested interests. But the real reasons run far deeper than that.
However, not all hope is lost. If we consider the recent interest of the government in sports, we can claim of a rich haul this time in Rio. Unlike the previous governments, this time, Our Honb. PM, Shri Narendra Modi, is particularly interested in the performance of the sportspersons, and has also brought radical changes to boost India’s chances ahead of the big day. For a welcome surprise, world championship medalist long jumper, Anju Bobby George, has been appointed as the Chairperson of the NDA flagship program, Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS), and esteemed Olympians such as Beijing gold medalist Abhinav Bindra, five time world champion and 2012 London bronze medalist boxer MC Mary Kom, and ex Badminton stalwart Pullela Gopichand being the core members of the committee. For the first time, there are no politicians with vested interests in charge of this scheme.
Under this scheme, every medal probable athlete shall be allotted financial assistance for their training at reputed world class institutes. Till now, more than 36 athletes of various disciplines have agreed to this program, and 20 others are in the fray.
Here are the some of the sports India is contesting, where India has a solid chance of making it big at the at the Rio Olympics, 2016:
India’s chances at the Rio Olympics, 2016: Shooting
The sport which gave India its first individual gold, now stands a strong and solid chance of bringing more than two medals that received in London. Forthe first time, we have a serious contender in pistol shooting, the small but sturdy Naib Subedar Jitu Rai, world champion in various ISSF World Cups. In fact, he was the first person from India to qualify for the Rio, and has won gold medals in all the disciplines he has contested, including the Commonwealth & Asian Games 2014. Apart from Jitu, we have a serious contender in Apurvi Chandela as well. Don’t go on her cute smile and persona, she has won a Gold in Glasgow CWG 2014, as well as a silver in ISSF Rifle & Pistol World Cup 2015, securing a berth thus in at the Rio Olympics, 2016. Also, we have the experienced stalwarts like Gagan Narang, Heena Sidhu & Abhinav Bindra, who is apparently playing his final Olympics. Let the guns go blazing!
India’s chances at the Rio Olympics, 2016: Athletics
Probably a claim to be laughed off, but this time, we have contenders who are giant killers for sure. Discus throw is a good probability, with throwers Vikas Gowda and Seema Antil Punia in good form, and shot putter Inderjeet Singh, who has sent ripples in the sports fray with his stellar throws of 20 m. plus. A World University Games gold medalist the previous year, he stands a chance of picking up a surprise. Also, we have the unpredictable racewalkers. Beginning from Irfan K. Thodi’s surprising 10th place finish in 2012, they have come a long way, and more than 9 racewalkers are in serious contention for a medal in Rio. Who knows who can spring up a surprise and end the 116 year old drought of India in athletics?
India’s chances at the Rio Olympics, 2016: Boxing
Even though Shiva Thapa is currently the only Indian who has qualified for the Rio, we still have huge hopes from the stalwarts in the ring. MC Mary Kom has a golden chance with the World Championships, and so does L. Sarita Devi and L. Devendro Singh among others. With all fists pumped right , they have a golden path ahead of them. Who knows if they can change the brown color of their medals?
India’s chances at the Rio Olympics, 2016: Badminton
Another sport to be looked for, this time, we have solid chances of bringing in more than one medal. Saina Nehwal, despite her injuries, is our best bet, considering her golden 2015, where she bagged World Championship silver, while Pusarla Venkat Sindhu can give the best a run for their money, on her day. Also, we can hope a surprise from Kidambi Srikanth, now that he has breached the Chinese wall more than twice. Wait for the shuttles to fly, dude!
India’s chances at the Rio Olympics, 2016: Field Hockey:
Many of you think I must be joking, but considering India’s performances in recent tournaments, and the recent changes in the format of the game, India has the perfect moment to end its drought. Thanks to the reintroduction of the knockout format, India needs to win only two games to enter the quarterfinals, and given how Ireland and Canada prevail in hockey, it should be a dead easy task. Also, considering other teams, it has a solid chance to stay in the top two teams, as it can defeat Germany and Netherlands, given its recent track record at FIH Hockey World League. With the Champions Trophy in fray, we can hope for the best, in sound literal sense.
India’s chances at the Rio Olympics, 2016: Wrestling
The innate strength of India, this time we have a strong call in wrestling. Given how Yogeshwar Dutt is performing, apart from biggies, and the new poster boy of muscle strength, World Championship bronze medalist Narsingh Pancham Yadav, we can expect a much better performance in Rio. It’s a golden chance, for Narsingh Yadav to climb up the bigger step, and add the gold to his personal collection. I’m eagerly waiting for the dangal to light up in Rio (dangal meaning the wrestling arena)
Although there are other sports as well, we aren’t sure that much. However, we can hope for the best now. I remember some lines from the first ad of IPL 2008, which should be an inspiration for all of us, especially the Indian contingent bound for Rio.
‘Aankhein unchi kar Dekh Shikhar, Hathiyar Utha Tu Dikha Hunar,
Mutthi Mein teri hai taqat, Dushman ki aayi hai aafat!
Tu Laga Daanv, Tu Laga Pench, Tu Dikha Jigar, Tu Dikha Tej,
Laakhon Dhadkan Ki Jaan Hai Tu, Laakhon ke Dil ki Shaan Hai Tu,
Na Desh Yuddh, Na Dharmyuddh, Ye Hai Dharti Par Karmyuddh!’
(Raise your eyes and see the pinnacle, show your skills, raise your weapons,
You have the power; your rivals are in trouble,
Take the gamble, take the risk, show your spirit, and show your charm,
No War of Nations, No war of Religion, this is the Battle of Duties!)
Come on India, go for it!