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A Lucky 7 for India at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 – Is applauding enough?


The Tokyo Olympics 2020 proved to be India’s best stint in the prestigious games so far in four decades. Indian sportspersons excelled and brought home pride to the nation.

Seven medals across various sporting events – the highest medal tally so far, finishing at 48th.

Recently Tokyo Olympics 2020 came to an end amidst much fanfare. By far, this has been India’s best performance in the history of the Olympics as we bring home a total of seven medals – our highest count so far. As medals kept trickling in, the nation celebrated and cheered its sports heroes.

Is cheering & felicitating after the victory enough?

With a population of 1.39 billion, we are happy with seven medals; it looks like! Delving into the lives of professional sports stars who have made their way to the Olympics, it looks like an ardour journey. The sports personnels have achieved more because of their own determination and with the least support of the government authorities or the corporates.

Deepak Jain, Director General, Federation of Indian Industry ( FII), says without mincing words, “Everyone comes forward to felicitate or sponsor after the sportsperson has won the award at international level. Rarely help comes to rising & potential sports stars while training or preparing themselves to cross over from one level to the next. No companies also support them before they earn recognition. The need is to garner, nurture and motivate young talent. Identify the child’s potential in school and importantly give sports a priority so that we may recognize, motivate, train & support the talent at a young age.  Under FII, we have created a Sports & Recreation vertical, and we would like to support the sports in Haryana, ‘’ he said.

Elaborating on the same experience and observation is Prof. G. L. Khanna, PVC, MRIIRS, Member PM Olympics Task Force, says, “We have large stadiums and sporting grounds that lay underutilised. The requirement is to give sports a greater push in India and at a grassroots level. The talent sometimes stays unidentified; often, the potential sports stars are forced to leave their training or passionate journey halfway due to a lack of resources. Coming from smaller towns that lack proper training and mentors, their underprivileged backgrounds become the biggest hindrance to our talented youth performing their best. Consistent mentoring, mental, physical and emotional health are a must for players to perform well. In other words, a sports person’s mental and emotional health must be equally strong like the physical stamina so as not to get buckled under pressure.  Counseling with a psychologist now and then is a must, and when going for international games, all kinds of preparedness must be there. As a member of the PM Olympics Task Force, we are minutely studying the gaps. Food plays an important part when players step far out of the country to perform. After a few days, they crave their Indian food, which is their comfort factor physically & emotionally. Lack of a good diet becomes a challenge for sports professionals. Healthy diet, good sleep, regular focussed practice and moral support, all ingredients are a must to make a winning cocktail.”

In recent interviews, Indian women’s hockey team skipper Rani Rampal hailing from Shahabad Markanda in the Kurukshetra, Haryana, shared about how she started practising with a “broken hockey stick”. With her father working as a cart-puller and mother as domestic help, it was an arduous journey for her in every possible way. Due to minimalistic means of earning t every step, she struggled-no support came in for the enthusiastic, passionate hockey lover. Who knew that the girls would win laurels and hearts playing for India. “I wanted an escape from my life; from the electricity shortages to the mosquitoes buzzing in our ear, from barely having two meals to seeing our home getting flooded.’’ It is at this level Mr GL Khanna says that the talent must be recognized and supported.

Total 127 Indian athletes, men and women, participated in the Tokyo Olympic Games from India in various games. A contingent of 30 players was from Haryana wherein many of them are coming from humble backgrounds.

The Chief Minister of Haryana, Manoharlal Khattar announced rupees 2.5 crore government job for the wrestler. Bajrang Punia.

Rupees 6 Crore and a government job for Haryana lad Neeraj Chopra for bringing a gold medal to India

As Indians, can we rise above caste barriers?

The sports ground is one field which ideally must equalise all barriers – rising above caste & class distinction. Only the deserving get to stay with equal opportunity to all. Revering to the recent one, unfortunately not the only one because it seems like an ongoing practice to bully the players based on their caste. 

After the Indian Women Hockey team lost the semi-finals to Argentina, Vandana Katariya was hurled casteist abuses. She took it all alone, with Rama Rani, her captain, standing by her.

Shameful and embarrassing as it can be, the reports of Vandana’s ‘high caste’ local neighbours in Haridwar ‘celebrated’ India’s loss by bursting firecrackers and abusing her family members with casteist slurs. The Haridwar police, though, made arrests after the family filed a complaint. But it is the silence of the Hockey Federation of  India and sporting authorities that prove once again how discrimination in Indian sports continues to go unacknowledged with the silent treatment.

Indian women’s hockey captain Rani Rampal was perhaps the only celebrated one who backed Vandana and was straight on the face calling this behaviour “a shameful act” and reiterating the team’s motto. “When we come out to play, there is only one thing we work hard for, that is India,” Rampal said during a virtual press conference after the incident.

 “Congrats, India! Subedar Neeraj Chopra, VSM of the Indian Army, has done us proud by winning the gold medal in javelin,’’ said Major General GD Bakshi (retired).

The Tokyo Olympics saw the participation of 205 countries and 11,091 sportspersons. India’s Olympic contingent for Tokyo 2020 included 127 participants from 18 sports categories. Seven of them have raised the bar high and have motivated a generation of budding young sportspersons to develop their passion for games and sports.

 “Best Olympic achievement, a proud moment for every Indian. Congratulations to all Indian Olympic medalists. You are the pride of the nation and inspiration for future generations. I also congratulate the coaches, scientific and medical team and technical support in making Olympic Champions and providing a safe, healthy environment in this difficult time.”

Prof. G. L. Khanna, PVC, MRIIRS, Member PM Olympics Task Force

Our Olympic Heroes

1.       Saikhom Mirabai Chanu – Silver, women’s 49 kg weightlifting

She brought home a medal on day one of the Olympics. With an 87 kg lift in the snatch and a 115 kg lift in the clean and jerk, she clinched herself a silver coming second to HOU Zhihui of China.

2.       PV Sindhu – Bronze, women’s singles badminton

Sindhu, the reigning world champion in badminton, added another Olympic victory to her name by winning the bronze medal in this year’s Olympics. A silver medallist in the Rio Olympic 2016, she is the only Indian female athlete to win multiple Olympic medals.

3.       Lovlina BorgohainBronze, women’s welterweight boxing

23-year-old welterweight boxer Lovlina Borgohain has made her mark in her debut Olympic performance by bringing home a Bronze. She has joined Mary Kom as the country’s second female boxer to win an Olympic medal.

4.       Men’s Hockey Team – Bronze

This was one of the most awaited sportings event in the Olympics for Indians, and it became an unforgettable one this year as the men’s hockey team clinched the bronze in a nail-biting match. The wait for 41 years for a medal in Olympics hockey finally came to an end as India beat Germany 5-4.

5.       Ravi Kumar Dahiya – Silver, men’s 57 kg wrestling

Dahiya, a bronze medallist at the 2019 world championship made it into the finals closed a gap of 5-9 to make his way into the finals of the Tokyo Olympics wrestling challenge. The only second wrestler to win an Olympic medal, he has been on a winning spree at every Olympic since 2008.

6.       Bajrang Punia – Bronze, men’s 65 kg wrestling

The 27-year-old wrestler from Haryana with three world championship medals to his name earned himself a bronze despite having a knee injury. He won with a smashing score of 8-0 against Kazakhstan’s Daulet Niyazbekov and gave India its sixth wrestling medal at the Olympics since 2008.

7.       Neeraj Chopra, Gold, men’s javelin throw

It was the last medal for India at this year’s Olympics, but what a grand finale. 23-year-old Neeraj Chopra was stunned with his performance and winning the nations’ first Gold Medal in Javelin Throw with a gigantic javelin throw of 87.58m. This was the first Olympics medal in track and field events at Tokyo and ended India’s 100 years wait for an Olympic medal in athletics

The stupendous seven have made India proud and brought laurels to the nation. Their dedication, passion and performance will be a benchmark for young sportspersons following their sporting dreams.

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