Anand’s Comment on the Olympic post warranted a separate blog entry by itself. So, I’ve posted his comment as an article.
Let us take swimming for instance. You need great swimming pools, researchers who understand fluid dynamics, companies that excel in fluid dynamics and continuously push their R&D to develop better swim suits, private companies that are willing to fund swimmers during their training and great universities that are willing to hire such swimmers into their program and nurture them so when they are in their mid 20s – they have a post swimming career in place.This is a heady concoction – which is available may be in the G7 countries of the world. Of course, I was surprised to see Coventry is Zimbabwean [of course she spent her last 6 years in Auburn.Cavic is Serbian only for olympics. He is a thoroughbred Californian. The other great swimmers from the non G7 countries seem to have gone to Ann-Arbor or Cal.Basically at this level of competition where the difference between #1 and #10 is less than half a second – infrastructure is EVERYTHING. I can extend this argument to Track and Field as well. San Jose Mercury News carried a story about why Jamaicans rule in Track and Field – it went back nearly 40 years to SJSU. Their athletic program took nearly 30 years to start yielding results. Of course a lot of the research support I mention is now available to those athletes too, who also train a lot in the US.If anything, I am totally convinced that to be anywhere near the top in any of these competitions, you better have the entire infrastructure to support you. When would India grow enough to create such support? Not anytime soon I think. If someone spent $200m to build a fantastic T&F center or a swim center – imagine the ruckus it would create right now. Only when the basic needs of the common man are met, can and will India think of esoteric acts such as excelling in sports come into being.Yes, there are random acts of individual brilliance that bring medals to much smaller countries – which will happen in India too. But as a system that generates medal winning athletes olympics after olympics – I would be very surprised if I saw it happen in our lifetime.
Anand further pointed us to an article written by Amit Verma