The Guangzhou Asian Games: It came, we saw, it went!
It’s been two weeks of waiting in vain for Indian athletes to prove that their CommonWealth Games medal haul was no flash in the pan. But it was not to be.
Even though India came home with 14 golds, their highest ever tally at an Asiad, comparing our performance against those of the Chinese or the Japanese or the Koreans does put our recent tomtomming in the shade. Let’s get some perspective, chaps!
We have made strides in boxing, archery and shooting. But we still have a long way to go before we can match our slant-eyed neighbours from the East.
It was heartbreak in hockey yet again; so near yet so far. A golden goal was not the way we were meant to lose to a Malaysian side. For Pakistan, our loss was a huge favour. They took home the gold; their first since 1990.
The Chinese never seem to run out of surprises. If you thought that the Beijing extravaganza would be difficult to surpass, the Guangzhou opening ceremony blew us out of our seats. The floats on Pearl River was such an innovative idea; the Chinese men and women seemed to walking on water too throughout the meet.
Somdev Devvarman, Sodhi and Vijender Singh were among the Indian athletes who delivered. There were other pleasant surprises, notably in rowing and roller-blading. Ashish Kumar demonstrated that his medals at the CommonWealth Games were well-deserved. Competing against the Chinese gymnasts, he proved that dedication to one’s craft can help one overcome many a hurdle.
Kabaddi gained us two of the 14 golds; should we really consider them well-earned? Not only is it an ignored sport in India, but not even our neighbours have bothered to challenge us in the past decade-and-a-half. Has kabaddi made a mark? Promoting indigenous sport begins at home; except for a few spotty spots on Doordarshan, this is an ignored pastime. Can you name one kabaddi exponent?
India performed quite well in track-and-field; five gold, two silver and four bronze medals is one of our best hauls in recent times.
Tinku Luka, the PT Usha protégée, clinched a bronze in the 800 metres following her disappointment at the CWG. Dost thou think that being the ward of the last Great Indian Track Superstar is too much pressure?
The Indian sports fan should really have nothing to complain about. We wake up every two years for the Asian Games and the Olympics, don our sack cloth and mourn the lack of real progress in the sporting arena. Do we dare and look at ourselves and check how health-conscious we are? Do we seriously believe that we can build a sporting nation when we are hurtling towards sedentary lifestyles, couch potatoism and obesity? Do we, really?
Quote of the day:
After all, all he did was string together a lot of old, well-known quotations. – H. L. Mencken