I am getting tired of reading articles and watching television debates on our recent Olympics performance. Everyone is of the opinion that our ‘rich’ haul of 6 medals can be further doubled or trebled and we can somehow extract ourselves from the bottom of the heap to the top of the Olympic medal pile, if only we improve the sports infrastructure of our country.
Ajay Maken our Sports Minister went to the extent of claiming we could win at least 25 medals at the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics.
At the risk of being dubbed a racist, I would say we just don’t have it in our genes. Wash a donkey a million years wont turn him into a horse. What’s the shame in admitting that we just cannot beat them at the games? And so what if we can’t. Different races around the world have different physical (and mental) capabilities. We suck in the physical department so why live in denial about it and blame the infrastructure.
I feel no amount of building up of sports infrastructure can help us win medals. It will only be such a waste and such a shame for a country like ours where 77 percent of people live under the poverty line. Why not focus on ensuring our hungry masses two square meals a day before we urge them to hop, skip , jump and run?
If indeed we must improve the sports infrastructure then we must do it in the North East (particularly Manipur ) where the gene pool for sports seem to lie. From Soniya Chanu to Mary Kom, the tiny state of Manipur has thrown up some of the brightest of our sporting stars in the last ten years. And the reason is simple. North Easterns, unlike us Aryans or Dravidians of `mainland India’ are of Mongolian origin.
I grew up in a boarding school where we lived cheek by jowl with the North East boys. We slept in the same dormitories, ate the same crappy food, shat in the same stinking loos and did the same amount of exercises. But they always beat us by a mile at the races, punched us blue in the boxing ring, swam at least a yard ahead in the pool and dribbled like Maradonas on the football fields. Everyone wanted a ‘Chinky’ on their side. (‘Chinky’ was definitely not a pejorative term in our school).
It’s the same phenomenon the world over. In fact what race you are also determines what sports you excel in.
Lets take the example of USA, a vastly multi-racial country. The sports infrastructure there is excellent. But it’s exactly the same for the White guys as it’s for the Blacks. American Blacks constitute only 12.3 percent of the total US population but all the great track and field champions in America have all been Blacks. Jesse Owens onwards the fastest men on the planet have all been Blacks whether they are from America or Jamaica. Similarly with boxing. All top fighters from Muhammad Ali to Tyson have all been Blacks.
Clearly when it comes to running or boxing or basketball the Blacks have it in their genes to beat any other race on the planet.
And inversely when it comes to some other games like swimming, fencing, or lawn tennis, the Blacks are not so good compared to their White brethren. And there are some events where you see neither the Whites nor the Blacks. For example in badminton or table-tennis where you need fast reflexes. Here the Chinese hold the sway.
So should we feel bad about not winning enough medals at Olympics. Of course not. We should maybe focus on sports were physical prowess is not so important for example we do good in sports like Archery, Shooting, Chess and Cricket.
I think its okay to acknowledge our weakness ( if you see it as that) and work on our strengths. In trying to become like ‘them’ we are only becoming pathetic also-rans . There must be something seriously wrong with us as a nation if getting more medals at the Olympics is the only way for us to assert our national pride.
This entry was posted on Monday, August 27th, 2012 at 9:51 pm. It is filed under Thoughts/ Articles and tagged with cricket india, documentary photographer india, games, games india, genes and sports, indian photographers, indian sports, olympics india, photographer in India, photographers in delhi, playing, races and sports, sports north east india, travel photographer in India, travel photographer india. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.