Abhinav Bindra’s Gold Medal at Olympics 2008 is a historic moment for India. He won in a relatively unknown sport called shooting. I would like to congratulate him for doing this for India. We are all proud of him. He has shown us all one thing – yes, India can do it. Some of us had lost hope; and this comes a pleasant surprise.
It is the first gold medal won by an Indian individual (not a team event) and the first one since 1980 – after a span of 28 years.
When India won the last gold medal for Hockey in 1980 Olympics held in Soviet Union, I was a young boy and I don’t recall the event. In the last many years, India has never fared well in any Olympics. At one point of time, PT Usha came close to getting a bronze medal but finished fourth. Time and again, India lost out. Even its much acclaimed Hockey team did not win Gold.
Indians could only look into the past to feel good and I did the same. We recounted the first half of the century when India Hockey team won Gold many a times. Most countries associated the game Hockey with India. We were so good at that sport. Through time, as with many other things in India, we lost our sheen.
I grew up in a small town in Telangana. While growing up we used to play on a platform which acted as a dais for conferences, etc. It was built in 1970s. It was well done and looked solid. The tiles are even and intact – even today. Recently, the officials decided to increase its size on all sides. So, instead of dismantling the old solid structure, they just extended it on all sides. They had to put similar tiles on all sides after they build the platform. It has been only few months now and already the new structure is caving in. The cement is chipping; the tiles are going down forming all kinds of cracks while the old structure seems to stand as ever. The new structure is kaput.
What happened to our construction in the last 30 years? How could we as a nation move from making such a solid structure in 1970s that continue to survive even after 30 years to building things that do not even stand 3 months?
The same thing happened to Indian Hockey. We just lost it like everything else that is endemic to India.
I am not sure if there is any hope for Indian sports as a state program. Also, our obsession with Cricket spells doom for all other sports in this country.
I see Abhinav’s gold as an exception. His case is interesting. It may spell the course for future of our sports. Abhinav comes as a son of a millionaire who could afford training for all these years. Let us understand one thing here – shooting is not a common man’s sports, like hockey, football, volleyball, etc. It is a rich man’s game, like golf.
In future, I believe corporate India and other rich men of India, who got tired of losing out to other countries, will create teams that will win medals for India. They will create private clubs, private teams that will throw out some champions. That is the only option for us. Relying or depending on Indian Government is a foolish exercise. I have been reading reports since I was a young boy about our Light Combat Aircraft (LCA). I have been waiting for it to be inducted in Indian Air force or Navy. That has not happened as yet. I am not sure if it is going to happen in my life time.
It is time for Indian people to do their own stuff, create sports clubs, sponsor them, watch them, telecast them, give sports players big monies, encourage them to compete and excel, and then send them off to Olympics to win us laurels. The best thing Indian Government can do is – lay off. Just let us do our stuff. I will be happy if they don’t intervene to become a spoilsport.