India is the second most populous country in the world. India has only two medals in her kitty. The state’s apathy towards sports is clearly visible from the huge gap in medal tally between India and the countries like China which has improved many fold in past three decades. However, despite this dismal performance, Indian sportswomen deserves accolades for their wonderful performance in Olympics. Their achievements carry a strong message to a society which is still grappling with its patriarchal set up.
Deepa Karmakar is the first Indian Gymnast who qualified for the Olympics. She missed the Bronze by a whisker. Sakshi Malik, a wrester, won the Bronze for the country. PV Sindhu won the Silver in Badminton. Aditi Ashok, an 18 years old golfer will be playing in the finals today.
Their achievements are special because they have defied all the social and the economic barriers to attain their goal. Deepa Karmakar comes from a small state in North East India. She qualified for a sport which is dominated by developed countries and which requires heavy investments in equipment. She had to practice using old equipment or with cheaper substitutes, like mats piled up on top of each other in place of vaulting table. Despite these obstacles, her resolve and gumption to achieve her goal is commendable.
Sakshi Malik is yet another example who defied social norms and brought laurels to the nation. She comes from a state in India which is infamous for female foeticide and orthodox practices like honour killings. Her parents’ move to make her a wrestler was resisted by the elders in the society. She chose to play a sport which is considered to be a man’s sport. Her determination will inspire many in the time to come.
The whole nation was watching PV Sindhu playing in the finals yesterday. This was for the first time that all Indians were cheering for a sportsperson belonging to a game other than the cricket.
People Enjoying PV Sindhu’s match in Delhi.
These sportswomen have given the sense of togetherness to the country. It is very rare that people put their cast, creed, religious, regional and ethnic identities aside and celebrate the success of someone representing the country with such fervour.
Today, we all are celebrating their success, claiming their victory as India’s victory, but we should not forget that they traversed this journey alone. The state cannot run away from its responsibility and then become a beneficiary of the fruits of their hard-work. The need of the hour is to have collaborative efforts by both the public and the private sector to hunt for the talent in the country, provide them with necessary support and chisel their skills for the future Olympics.