Millennium Post

Glittering avenues

The quadrennial showpiece, currently being hosted by Indonesia, has witnessed India win eighteen medals so far. Majority of winners are from disciplines in which India has been active in the past sporting events of this decade -- Wrestling and Shooting amassing 12 out of current 18 medals. A surprise bronze in Men's Sepak Takraw event is their first medal since its debut in the 1990 Asian Games. With prominent events yet to take place, India can hope to better its tally of 57 medals in the last edition held at Incheon in 2014. Those facts from the first few days of the Asian Games emphasise how India's sporting environment is shaping. A record 26-0 win against Hong Kong in Hockey sparks the lively spirit that could bring a successive Gold for the team.

Beijing, London, and Rio have seen India secure a medal in the field of wrestling highlighting top three presence of our tricolour at Olympics, in a rare coincidence. 12 medals in Gold coast '18, 13 in Glasgow '14, and 19 in New Delhi '10 editions of Commonwealth embellish the kind of impact Wrestling has had on our positioning in these quadrennial events. A special mention, thereby, goes to Haryana, a 25 million populous state (as per 2011 census), which has been instrumental in India's wrestling success in the past decade. Haryana is credited for a third of medals secured by the nation in the past Commonwealth Games, with the history and culture of the state being the catalyst to the contemporary success. From the earlier presence of kushti and pehlwani in akharas to agriculture, military, or sports - Haryana's general urge for a strong physique has seen them exceed expectations in situations where physicality plays a key role. Probably why apart from Wrestling; Boxing, shooting, Weightlifting, and Athletics all have seen a rise in participation as well as earning laurels from the state.

As far as Shooting is seen, India has secured the highest number of medals in past three editions of Commonwealth and has performed well in past editions of Asian games securing more medals than any other discipline. Our shooters, spread across different events such as Trap shooting or Air Pistol/Rifle, have given India consistent confidence entering every global sporting competition. Even in the ongoing additions shooter Shardul Vihan, aged just 15 years, won a silver in Men's Double Trap while Saurabh Chaudhary, aged 16, got India Gold in Men's 10m Air Pistol amidst others.

It is imperative to understand that in a bid to amass maximum medals for a 1.2 billion populous nation, the development of sports and related infrastructure is crucial. Our Achilles' heel has been the lack of involvement or continuity in sports disciplines from early ages because of priority to academics. Further, lack of facilities is a constant impediment. Possibly why are ranked 7th in terms of participants in this ongoing edition with a contingent of just 572 participants. Nurturing environment for sports alongside welfare of sportspersons can unlock the potential this country possesses.

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