Recalling India’s Olympic Journey From The Scratch
All aligned on the stumps and with the sound of a beep, up in the air, taking a sharp bend they cut the water smoothly. The camera showcasing the beautiful synchronization of their butterfly kicks in the water. And once again Micheal Phelps takes the lead. And I am glued to the television screen.
Olympics is truly the most commemorated sports events, wherein thousands of athletes from around the world participate in a variety of competitions. This year, Brazil, a country known for colorful, vibrant and an insatiable hunger to a party is hosting XXXI Olympic Games, where over 10,500 athletes from 206 nations will display their talent with only 306 medals in stock. This year’s Olympics is special for two reasons. Firstly, the presence of legendary names like swimmer Michael Phelps, sprinter Usain Bolt and badminton star Lin Dan who have added the cherry to the cake by declaring Rio as their last games. And the second reason being the largest ever contingent consisting of 110 players from India representing at Rio. It surely brings home the point of being a special Olympic both for India and globe.
From being a religious Ancient Olympic Games festival that was held every four years at the sanctuary of Zeus in Olympia, Greece to the first Games held under the auspices of the IOC hosted in the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens in 1896, which brought together 14 nations and 241 athletes who competed in 43 events for the first time has come a long way to about 10,500 athletes. This is nothing but the evolution of sports.
Olympic Games have challenged the evolution of the human species. Since the beginning of the games, Sports has evolved a lot. For instance, Diving when first introduced only entailed a simple, streamlined jump into the water but boy now we witness a good performance packed with a set of twist and turns. Another example would be none other than Ussain Bolt’s fastest time of 9.58 seconds which proved to the world that impossible is nothing in a grand manner. A Progression of strength and technique has come to the fore. If we take one nation in particular, then India too has evolved in the world of sports. It has tremendously improved a lot keeping in account the level of competition now days. At last Olympics, in London India won six medals and only 80 Indian athletes had taken part. With 110 athletes this year our hopes are high with lots of them expecting a medal and lots of them entering finals if not a medal.
India's association with the Olympics started when the country was still striving for its independence in 1900 in Paris. At that time it was Norman Pritchard, an Anglo-Indian who bagged two silver in the 200m dash and 200m hurdles. And only in 1928 India marked an official representation of the Olympic history with the formation of Indian Olympic Association.
The sport, Hockey was the primary sport to give the country a feel of gold. India's Men's Field Hockey Team won the gold for six successive Olympic years from 1928-1956. Abhinav Bindra's phenomenal performance at the 2008 Beijing Olympics has proven to be a catalyst to evoke the interest of the Indians in the mammoth sporting event. Seeing India doing better at the Olympics has motivated others to dream of sports as a career. The Indian government has also been supportive since then. This year we have many newcomers such as Dipa Karmarkar, who is the first woman Commonwealth Games and Asian Championship medalist from the country and has now become the first Indian gymnast to qualify for the Olympics. Also, she has been recognized as “the world-class gymnast” by the international gymnastics federation. To see such upcoming athletes brings new hope on to the table.