Let us accept the truth

# London Olympics 2012
**India Medal Tally (G:0, S:2, B:4)
***Part 1

Let us not be afraid to face the truth. We are a one-sport nation!

As a professional sportswriter, I am sick of hearing the question over and over and over again. I find it almost nauseating. If there are tens of millions posing the question, then, over the four decades that I have spent in the profession, there have been tens of hundreds of answers, from serious commentators and sports critics down to lay persons.

Why does a nation of over 1.2 billion people end up with just a few pieces of bronze and silver every four years in the most celebrated event in sport?

Psychologists often talk of something called paralysis through analysis in life. When you think too much about something and ratchet up your anxiety levels, the performance is bound to dip. When it comes to this clichéd question, this very much seems to be true.


While, some might believe they have the right answers/solutions, we have been left in such a confused state that there is no single ‘right’ prescription for the malaise.

But if you chose to leave aside all serious analysis as to why Indian track and field athletes, swimmers, gymnasts, hockey players and other Olympic participants fail to live up to our — and sometimes their own — expectations and came around to zeroing in on a rather reductionist, and surely controversial, viewpoint, the answer might be simple.

For, this question raises its ugly head for only about two weeks every four years. The rest of the time — for three full years and eleven and a half months — we are obsessed with, worship and shamelessly pay obeisance to a sport played with any degree of seriousness by eight-and-a-half nations.

Let us, then, accept the truth. We are a one-sport nation. And even a toddler would tell you what that sport is.

So, let us forget the London Games. In a few weeks, the Indian cricket team will be playing in the Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka where the conditions will suit Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his boys to the hilt.

Nirmal Shekhar
Source: The Hindu

13 responses to “Let us accept the truth

  1. “Why does a nation of over 1.2 billion people end up with just a few pieces of bronze and silver every four years in the most celebrated event in sport?”

    I have to say I had the same thought the other day… not sure why it suddenly popped into my head but I was wondering.

    Besides the one-sport nation thing though, is it possible that sports are just not encouraged from a young age in India? (I honestly don’t know, I’m asking) I went to an engineering/computer university so for the most part we were not sporty people in general, but even there, where a large majority of the student population was Indian, almost none of them were on any of our sports teams. It just seems like their main focus was on academics and career more than athletics. By contrast, look at the countries with the most medals US & China… parents of the US Olympians seemed to spend almost as much energy on their children’s training as the athletes themselves. And in China, the kids are plucked from their families and sent to train on their sport almost to the exclusion of anything else.

    • Yeah this makes us wonder!
      In India, sports = cricket. The situation can be simply put as this equation. This is actually happening that people are not encouraging sports; to them, it’s just cricket. I agree that most of us are concentrated toward academics, but even those who are interested in sports are not supported by friends and families at the first place, then the government does not support them financially, do not develop quality fields/tracks/stadiums/courts or anything. Here, just cricket stadiums are made and these are of real high class or quality. Neither the people, nor the ministries support other sports. And, then they expect a pool of medals!

  2. I don’t know a lot about the Olympics … much less sports in general. I just wanted to say I read the blog post (and comments to date), and am thinking about…well, just thinking about this particular issue … a 1 sport nation. I am trying to understand the pros and con’s so to speak.

    This seems to sort of go beyond just the question of “sports” …. but I am trying to frame this in my head.

    (Likes posts that make me feel or make me think or make me happy.)

  3. You are absolutely right in saying ‘We are a one-sport nation!’ Tomorrow is Independence Day, and after reading this post, I think we are still not free of our narrow thinking that we can cheer any sport beyond that one single sport! Great post. may people understand that a sportsman’s spirit does not just come out from anywhere. It is we who support and encourage them to play well, and play better!

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