India versus China at The Olympics
It’s a sacrilege to mention India, China and the Olympics in the same sentence. The medal tally speaks for itself. China won 51 gold, 21 silver and 28 bronze; a total of 100 medals at Beijing in the 2008 Olympics. India by contrast won just one gold and two bronze medals. It’s difficult to comprehend why two countries that have more in common than just geography show such disparity in performance at the Olympics. We have the numbers to match theirs and yet the medals elude us at the Olympics.
So what does China do differently from India? There is a marked difference in attitude. China plays to win. India plays to compete. Winning requires one to have that killer instinct, unfortunately, lacking in Indians. Secondly, China invests in its athletes. India invests in only cricket and to some extent in hockey. Unfortunately, cricket is not played in the Olympics. Athletes who play other sports have a tough time getting sponsors. When you participate at the Olympic level, a lot of things count. Only two things matter in India – Bollywood and Cricket. All money is invested in either of these two. So while India is busy perfecting the intricacies of dancing around the trees in Bollywood movies and wielding the willow in cricket, the Chinese are out there training hard with just one thing in mind – Gold!!!.
Yes, India does not have the infrastructure that China has and it’s true we have more pressing issues that require our finances but ignoring sports is not the answer. Sports requires not just infrastructure, it requires discipline, and more important than all, the burning hunger in one’s belly to succeed. Winning calls for aggression and the single-minded urge to succeed.