It happens every leap year without fail. There is a sinking feeling, a feeling of great shame. As the second most populous nation in the world marches into the Olympic arena along with every other countries (some hitherto unheard of), the Indian in me cowers. I know of the feeble attempt we will manage, and feel terribly sorry to see the tiny contingent who has made it to the Games.
What do we lack?
Political will for sure. The making of Sports as an industry for another. Sports have to be made enticing enough to want to make people pursue them as a career. The prime-time in the life of an athlete is a short span, and if the industry surrounding this spurt does not sustain such talented individuals, few people would make the choice. There have to be careers for those who excel – as trainers, as team co-ordinators, as people who can be given the responsility to contributing to decisions in ways that touch not just their lives, but those of others who have the honor of representing the country. Cricket has achieved that, and I think it should be the same for other arenas too.
My husband and I were chatting about this, and one viable option would be to have a roadmap to win 5 medals in the next Olympics, and then make a career path for aspiring athletes. Make the infrastructure ready and available, hone skills and inspire people to succeed.
It is not difficult to achieve once the commitment is made, just difficult to overcome the reluctance to commit.