More than a hundred Indian athletes participated in the Rio Olympics 2016. How many names do we remember? Ten, perhaps, including the badminton players, wrestlers and Dipa Karmakar’s. Twenty more, maybe, if you are a keen follower of other sports and Indian hockey.
India finished 67th on the medal tally, winning a silver and a bronze medal. A handful of athletes fought till the very end for a podium finish. But, except for a few individuals, the rest of the Indian contingent just made up the numbers. One medal for every 60 athletes and just two for a country with around 1.3 billion people is a huge shame.
Four Indian archers participated in the Rio Games. Atanu Das made it to the men’s Individual 1/8 Eliminations but failed to qualify for the quarter-finals. Among the women, Deepika Kumari and Bombayla Devi lost the pre-quarter clashes, which was quite disappointing as Kumari was a big medal hope for India. Archer Laxmirani Majhi also lost in the ranking round in Rio.
India won six medals at the 2012 London Olympics, but the country has only had one gold medal to celebrate since 1980 — when Abhinav Bindra took out the men’s 10m rifle event at the 2008 Beijing Games.
India’s only individual Olympic gold medallist, shooter Abhinav Bindra, said he was fed up with apathetic officials, some of whom were unqualified for the job and were not being held accountable for a lack of success on the field.
“I won’t get angry and spoil my own health. It happens every time and that is the way it is,” the shooter, who won gold in Beijing in 2008 and finished fourth in Rio, told the NDTV network.
The point is, we are not faster, stronger or higher. Except for a few individuals, the Indian contingents at Olympics stick to the story that began before Independence: Go, participate, lost, return, and disappear into anonymity.