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  Age Debate: The way to create winners

Age Debate: The way to create winners

Published : Aug 25, 2016, 6:25 am IST
Updated : Aug 25, 2016, 6:25 am IST

Why did India win six medals in the 2012 London Games, the country’s highest haul in the Olympics The reason was the groundwork done at home, because India had hosted the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Jagbir Singh
 Jagbir Singh

Why did India win six medals in the 2012 London Games, the country’s highest haul in the Olympics The reason was the groundwork done at home, because India had hosted the 2010 Commonwealth Games. There was pride involved and everyone — the government, federations and athletes — worked together in terms of planning and preparation since 2007. Athletes got the best coaches, trained at home with new infrastructure and planning, and the results were reaped two years later in London.

But four years after that, we cannot look at the same athletes to bring us glory. Has India developed a new pool and better training regimes Was there enough work done to expect medals at Rio For every battle won or lost, a deep introspection and thorough assessment of the situation provides the way forward. It is important to identify the various aspects that go into the making of an athlete.

So shall we now invest money in infrastructure, better coaches, training or other aspects for 2020

First, I believe that the country invested a lot of money in creating infrastructure in 2010 for the Commonwealth Games. I think close to Rs 1,500 crores was spent in making stadiums alone but the real question here is that what have we done with those

We can build many more, but are we utilising the ones that are already there Are they available to the athletes and upcoming players Was it beneficial to India in their run-up to the Rio Games

Second, there is a need for a corruption-free system, and it doesn’t necessarily mean financial corruption. It is allowing everyone — and not only a selected few — to access facilities and cover various sections under a well-defined programme.

Yes, a system is needed to fund athletes and those dreaming of representing the country and make sure that every facility is available for them for the 2020 Games, but it will require clever and immaculate planning. Spend money, but use it wisely and judicially.

The country had two medal winners, Sakshi Malik and P.V. Sindhu, and their stories — as also that of gymnast Dipa Karmakar — are a reflection of what could have been done in the last four years.

Sindhu’s father said he used to travel close to 60 km every day for her training when she was a teenager while Dipa did not have proper equipment and methods to train for the Olympics. These were our upcoming players in 2012, but was enough work done to ease their training and provide them with the best of support

So, will we only spend money — which is definitely needed — or also channelise and utilise it to make sure champions are produced

(As told to Harpreet Kaur Lamba)

Jagbir Singh is a former India hockey player

$Spend cash, but do so more wisely


Cash prizes are raining on P.V. Sindhu and Sakshi Malik, India’s medallists at the Rio Olympics, and they deserve every penny that is coming their way. What the two women have done is stupendous. I can’t praise them enough because they have won medals in their first Olympics. Rarely do Indian athletes rise to the occasion at the first time of asking. Experience is vital to reach the podium at the Olympics. For example, Abhinav Bindra did so well at Rio because it was his fifth Olympics. Sindhu and Sakshi performed as if they had been to multiple Games.

I hear complaints from some sections about the cash prizes lavished on the two achievers. They are all totally unjustified because Sindhu and Sakshi saved India’s face on the greatest sporting stage. Imagine the humiliation India would have been subjected to had it returned home without a medal. If India’s national flag went up in Rio, it’s because of the stellar efforts of the badminton ace and warrior wrestler. The two brave girls are India’s pride and we should do even more to honour them. They won medals for all sports, not only for their respective disciplines.

Having taken part in two Olympics, I know how tough it is to stand on the podium. Winning medals in other competitions such as the World Cup and the World Championship is nothing compared to an Olympic medal.

The pressure is unimaginably high at the Olympics, as is the quality of the competition in every sport. An Olympic silver or a bronze is not a joke.

There are also attempts to look at Sindhu and Sakshi in parochial terms. For me they are only Indians. Neither Andhra Pradesh’s flag nor Haryana’s flag was raised during their medal ceremonies. The impressive cash prizes are important not only for their careers but also for the future of Indian sports. We all know that Indian parents are reluctant to encourage their children to take up sports. There is a general belief that a career in sports is not rewarding. That’s why children are encouraged to dream about becoming doctors, engineers and scientists.

The way we celebrate the success of Sindhu and Sakshi with a cash bonanza will change the mindset of many people.

I’m particularly thrilled by the fact that our children will be inspired by the great achievement of the two. They will start believing that a career in sports is possible through hard work.

It’s the most important takeaway for me. If not in 2020, India will win more medals in the subsequent Games through today’s children. Sindhu and Sakshi have also instilled the belief in all of us that Indians can stand up to the best in the world.

(As told to T.N. Raghu)

N. Mohammed Riaz is a former India hockey player

$Sports stars fully deserve every penny