For four years before the inauguration of Rio Olympics majority of Indians were quite oblivious of the existence of 21-year-old Pusarla Venkata Sindhu and 23-year-old Sakshi Malik.
This is despite the fact that both of them have been winning medals in the national and international arena in the past. However, for a country that had almost given up hope of winning a medal in the Rio Olympics Malik’s bronze medal in 58 kg freestyle wrestling and subsequently Sindhu’s silver in badminton saved this country many a tears considering how billions of Indians were praying for our sportspersons’ success in Rio Olympics.
A nation that is by and large fixated on cricket wakes up every four years with high expectations from our sportspersons. Corporate entities commission advertisements to create hype for our sportspersons; social media goes in over drive with both positive as well as negative opinions and comments and, among other people, politicians become active in delivering messages, speeches and making promises. Some take a step in advance and announce cash rewards for Indian sportspersons participating in the Olympics. All in all there is a buzz in the country till the last Indian sportsperson returns from the international arena.
This is the story that unfolds once every four years before the Olympics. In between, the government mostly sleeps, politicians mostly look out for free passes for cricket matches in India or abroad, actors and others who rain cash rewards stay blissfully ignorant about the sweat and toil sportspersons go through or about what they need to do better when the time comes.
A lot many have got inspired by the success of sportspersons to enter the sporting arena. However, all those, particularly governments, who try to outdo each other in announcing some reward or the other for the successful sportspersons, should not remain inactive for the remaining four years and instead try to promote, sponsor and encourage budding talents.
As of now Sindhu and Malik have restored India’s pride in the world community where even a small country like Fiji has won a gold medal. Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi had, when he was chief minister of Gujarat, questioned how a country of 120 crore people ends up winning just a medal or two in Olympics. It is about time that the government at the Centre shows its resolve to cleanse the sporting arena of all its ills and evils and ensures that our budding sportspersons get all the necessary help and encouragement to excel in their respective fields.