Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Rosy future for the Indian Athlete

Abhinav Bindra, by claiming the medallion, has provided the much-needed breakthrough for all the Indians to emulate. This edition of Olympics, in Beijing, not only brought its first ever individual Gold to India but also has thrown other names, who can go the distance in the years to come, Saina Nehwal and the pugilists being the prominent ones. Saina and Akhil could have ended up on the podium if they could have squeezed through one more match i.e., their quarterfinal encounters. So close… yet so far for them, though their efforts are worth in gold!!!

The young and fast improving Saina Nehwal, aggressive pugilists Akhil, Joginder and Vijender, long distance runner Preeja Sreedharan, heptathlete Pramila Ganapathy, rower Bajranglal Thakar, shooters Narang, Rathore, Mansher and Manav Singh, wrestler Yogeshwar and Sushil Kumar, and tennis contender Sania Mirza; all have it in them to swell the country’s medal tally. Furthermore, having age on their side except a couple augurs well for the country, as they gain in experience to perform better when they participate next in the quadrennial event, Olympics, in 2012. There is talent in abundance in this vastly populated country. It is the executive planning schedule by the concerned officials that could make the all the more a worthy difference.

With Bindra showing the way, the Government and the Indian Olympic Committee should now start investing to organize an Olympic programme (with or without corporate support), as Bindra rightly hinted, to prepare the athletes to compete at the best level. It would be great if the IOC can identify some eight to ten athletes, to start with (a step in the right direction), and provide them with the required infrastructure, exposure and training. The following results should lead to further plans.

The IOC should exhibit a more important vision, of bringing more laurels to the country rather than basking in this one time glory, to organize such programmes. They should work towards addressing the needs of the athletes, things like ammunition shortage for the shooters, stints with renowned International athletes and trainers for a period of time, and such. At least they would have done their bit towards the improvement of the sport in the country, if they fulfill this requirement. Its time India diversifies from its cricket obsession and wake up to the realities of International sport.

Being an Indian alone would never contribute to the country’s growth; everybody should do his/her two bits worth so that four years down the line we can reap better results in the Olympic medal tally. Lets hope/work for the best.

Abhinav Bindra, a jewel in the crown

Achieving something a billion people had been hoping for a century is no mean thing. And it takes a lion heart and an ice head to withstand the pressures that mount when you represent the country and its hopes. That’s exactly what the apple of the whole country’s eye, Abhinav Bindra has weathered and achieved; an individual gold medal in the ongoing Beijing Olympics 2008, the highest sporting achievement ever by an Indian.

The Himalayan Mountains were there for centuries. Though various attempts were made to scale the peak, no human ever reached its summit till Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953. From then on, we know that the frequency of visits to the summit is on the rise. It’s the first successful attempt that inspires and paves the way for others to tread on and emulate the feat time and again.

Similar is the Indian Olympics story. Though commendable and worthy of high praise, previous feats by Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Karnam Malleswari, Leander Paes and KP Jadhav, in the context of Olympics glory, they missed the golden medallion by a whisker or two. The thirst, the quest for an individual Gold in an Olympics was quenched with this year’s edition as Abhinav Bindra stood atop the summit to claim his coveted gold medallion. The moment of seeing the Indian Flag and the Anthem being hoisted and played ahead of any other country’s flag or anthem is worth experiencing time and again, for an Indian.

Future never looked rosier for the Indian athletes, as Bindra has cracked the enigma to open the floodgates. Hopefully, this will inspire generations to come by instilling the much needed self belief in the rest to bring home the glory with its tagged pride to such heights that we, as Indians, could proudly say that INDIA IS A SPORTING SUPER POWER AS WELL in the years to come.

If Hillary and Norgay are legends then Bindra is no less. They climbed to fame and he shot to fame. Long live the glory!!!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Indians, as citizens, for Olympics

Raj asked, “How is Bharat preparing for his tenth standard final examinations?”

Seema, with a thumbs-up sign responded, “Doing pretty well.”

“As his mother you always support him, which made him what he is today. Useless and good for nothing is what I sum him up to be. Last year he got only 543 out of 600 marks in his final exam and I doubt his ability even this year. The state rank holder gets a score of more than 570 and this fellow, when he cannot even get 550 in his ninth standard, how can we expect a better score from him in the tenth finals?” he lamented being his usual self.

“I know he will fail to deliver, once again, to our expectations”, he concluded with a dismissive air.

Bharat was just behind the curtain, listening to this discussion between his parents. He felt a sting of anguish as he was paying close attention to his father’s curt statements. He knew that he is trying his level best to improve his overall abilities in each and every aspect of his academics and still he is unable to match his parents’ expectations. This bothered him.

Then something, which shouldn’t have, has happened. Bharat recollected all his examination performances of his previous four years. In his sixth he got 486, then improved it to 512 in his seventh, got 529 in his eighth and in his last exam in his ninth standard he got 543 and stood second in the class. Each time, it was his mother who stood by him to some extent and he never received any consolation from his father. This weighed heavily on him and finally, he broke.

He lost all interest in improving his performance, as he understood that no betterment would improve his rating in his father’s eyes. He started neglecting his studies, became careless in his outlook towards every aspect of life.

Does this ring any bell?

Sure, it does. Every athlete from India should be feeling the same way as Bharat here. More than ever, this is the time when all Indian athletes need the good wishes and encouragement from its countrymen to do well in their respective fields in the Beijing Olympics. This is the time when every medal receives worldwide recognition and every athlete on the podium brings a moment of pride to the country as a whole.

Let us pray and hope for the best for our country, India.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Upstaged?


Now, the inevitable is out. Nadal has upstaged Federer to the top spot in International Tennis. One of the most formidable forces ever has been dethroned. By August 18th the rankings will change and the new Emperor will be crowned officially.

Recently, after his loss to big serving Karlovic in Cincinnati, Federer said, “I don’t care if Nadal or somebody else takes the No.1 spot. I just am focusing on Olympics in Beijing and the US Open, later this year. And then I will sit to analyze where my game is?”

Does this mean that Federer will not show any resilience in taking back his throne? This is the big question.

What, after his analysis of his game? Will he just play some select tournaments to collect at least 3 grand slams to become the highest collector of grand slam trophies? Will he try even harder to win the French Open, the one missing link in his career so far? Will he become what he was till the last yearend, winning everywhere and enchanting the crowds with his grace and unimaginable talent? OR will he start a new rivalry with Nadal, dethroning him from his Numero Uno position at the earliest chance he gets?

It will always be a sight for divinity to see him in full flow on a tennis court and none would really wish him to bid adieu to the game as Borg has predicted Federer might do after his defeat at Wimbledon this year. And I am no different from any of the normal human beings who would love to experience divinity.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The end of an era in Indian cricket?

The famous trio are found wanting in an away test match, in Sri Lanka, a rare phenomenon for the past 15 years. Rahul, Sachin and Sourav, all failed together. Let us not attribute their collective failure to either Mendis or Muralitharan or even Vaas.

Rahul and Sourav clearly looked short of match practice. Their attempts to feel for the ball brought their downfall. Quality time in the middle should do them a world of good, if they want to keep the barking dogs at bay. They would know this more than anybody and its almost panic button time if they don’t get their act together. This pair might share a unique record of making their debut and their last appearance in test matches together, if things don’t brighten up for them personally.
Sachin, an enigma these days, is not his self for quite some time. He paints a bleak picture of his past, which doesn’t augur well for the team, especially in the given circumstances. The team is down 1-0 in the ongoing series and this match is crucial to square the series and push to win the series in the third, later. Being a big match player, he would hate to miss out a good contribution off his bat in the second Innings of this test, if need arises.

Their game is very much intact. It is just that they need to call upon it at the right time. Playing at the highest level for so many years takes a heavy toll on the mind more than body, which very few could handle. And they did and will continue doing it as only they can. The storm is just round the corner, Rahul-the purist, Sachin-the genius, Sourav-the God’s touch, should take us into an exhilarating delight we are used to, all these years.