There was quite lot of talk about the chances of India getting more medals than what we got in Beijing Olympic and performing better in all fields. The expectations were founded on our Asian Games and Commonwealth Games performance and in some cases World cup events. Surely there is some mismatch by our selectors. Either we were not much aware of the happenings around the world that is we were not keeping close tab on the countries and their athletes or we just made the qualifying mark and without bothering to check the capability of each of those who participated.
Deepika Kumari admitted that before she could get a grip the competition was over. Does it mean that in India we allow our athletes to take their sweet time and don’t bother to correct that. We know time is the biggest casualty in India. Every one thinks that last minute preparation is the real preparation. Secondly exposure to international arena, are we regularly exposing the players to train with better athletes than them? I have my own doubt in this department. Saina has been playing in international circuit so she could fight the Chinese but the same cannot be said about Deepika. Sushil Kumar had no stronger opponent in India to practice. Merry Kom was practicing against male boxers and so she could compete.
A time has come when we have to do a very scientific study and pick athletes more on their natural flair than on one off performance. Haryana is a good choice for picking up boxers and wrestlers.Jats are very tall and strong. Every state has its own strength and that sport should be encouraged in that state. Hyderabad has emerged as hub of Badminton so it should be exploited more by increasing the capacity and coaches. Bengal has emerged as breeding ground for Table Tennis, shooting and in Archery along with Jharkhand. So the focus for these sports should be in these states. Tata academy has done commendable job in promoting archery but more international exposure is needed for the archers. They have to participate in different weather conditions and against superior archers.
Somehow tennis has remained an individual initiated game. It is the game for affluent and remained so. This game develops around clubs where babu culture is prevaelent, very difficult for an ordinary mortal to break in. There is hardly any breeding ground. I have seen tennis courts in the townships of Undertakings which are underutilized and whereas in cities one has to be member of some club to play this game. Less talked about small towns is better. Just to play tennis in Calcutta I struggled to become member of a club and same is the story with badminton. Each state government can work towards these 2 sports by providing courts in each area.
In short though we are 120 crore populations but our catchment area is dismal. There is no effort to address this issue of catching them young. One has to have his or her own drive to go forward but then the system is not there to spot the talents. No wonder hockey died a natural death because of the other notorious money spinner cricket. Enough cricket fields have been created by the schools and colleges and players are pouring in as there is lure for money. Who bothers about hockey?