5 Things India has Learned from the Rio Olympics

Despite rumoured problems about the dangers of the Zika virus, lack of security, and incomplete infrastructure, the Rio Olympics were more or less a success, with some outstanding performances, some warm, emotional scenes, and many heart-breaking moments, all of which captured the public imagination and turned ordinary mortals into legends, while the likes of Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps broke records and made their bids to be called as the greatest Olympian of all time.

Now that the dust is slowly settling on the Rio Olympics, we can take a look back at the performance of the Indian contingent in a hopefully unbiased and objective manner.

So here’s 5 things that we learnt from the Rio Olympics:

Our Women Are Truly Super

Rio Olympics India

With only 3 days for the Olympics to end, the Indian contingent was down in the dumps without a single medal from any of their hopefuls, and there was a good chance that they would return home empty-handed, a disappointing feat which had last occurred in Barcelona 1992.

But up stepped India’s superwomen, Sakshi Malik in wrestling and PV Sindhu in badminton, and with gritty performances, got the bronze and silver medal respectively, saving the nation’s face and winning hearts all over the homeland. Gymnast Dipa Karmakar almost made it 3 for the superwomen, but her effort in the finals fell just a hair’s breadth short, missing the podium by the smallest or margins, as she had to settle for 4th place (nevertheless, her accomplishment, along with that of the others, gave us belief and made us dream).

Yep, our women are truly super.

Spend More on Athletes & Less on Comforts for Ministers

While there were cases of Indian athletes having to travel in economy class, and arrive at Rio without much aid from the IOC, the ministers and bureaucrats all came to the Olympics in their traditional luxurious way. Indeed, the Union Sports Minister, one Mr Vijay Goel was apparently caught trespassing in areas reserved only for athletes for the sake of mere selfies!

Monsieur, it would be better if you spent your time on actual development of sports in the country and providing aid to aspiring and current sportspeople, instead of garnering glory on social media.

India Needs Better Infrastructure

Majority of India’s medals in the Olympics over the years have not been because of the hard-work of the IOC and the sports ministry, but rather despite their blunders. The infrastructure and grass-root level programs in India for development of sports and athletics are rank amateur when compared to their western counterparts, and this remains one of the major reasons why we continue to perform dismally in these events despite having a vast population. After all, without proper training and development, there can be no success.

Sportspeople Deserve Better Treatment

A number of sportspeople are forgotten by the ministry and media once the games are over – unless they have won a medal, in which case they get to stay in the limelight for longer. For true development of sports, India needs to start caring better for its sportspeople and their families, a number of whom come from poverty. Flight tickets, accommodation, world class training, stability and help for their family is the least they deserve.

Population Does Not Equate to Medals & Success

This is for all those who say India does not win despite having such a large population. Until there is a proper strategy in place for developing sports and helping aspiring sportspeople grow in the nation – much like the one appointed by Team Great Britain to great success – victory will only come through the effort and will of individuals.

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