The long-term Indian association with the Olympic Games
India forayed in the arena of the Olympic Games in 1900 held in Paris with the participation of an athlete named Norman Pritchard. He participated in two events- 200 meters and 200 meters hurdles, and bagged a silver medal in each category.
After that, India did not participate at the Olympic Games until 1920 when the country sent six participants to the multi-sports event held in Belgium. There were four athletes and two wrestlers. However, India's performance was very disappointing. None of the participants were able to bag any medal.
Since then India has been sending representatives to every Olympic Games, even though they were not always successful to win medals for the country.
In 1924, 13 participants from India, including two women, took part at the Olympic Games held in Paris. However, the Indian participants were failed to bag any medal for the second consecutive Olympiad.
But the British government kept on endorsing the sportspersons and as a result, the number of Indian representatives was growing increasingly. In 1928, 21 men participated at the event. There were seven athletes and a hockey team of 14 members.
For the first time, the country bagged the gold medal. The recognition was gained by the India's Men Filed Hockey Team. At the same time, it was India's first move towards ascending the hockey throne. Hockey is the only sport where India's record has been very consistent and successful.
India won six gold medals in Olympic Games till 1956 for hockey. However, the trend had broken in 1960 Olympic Games held in Rome when India lost the final match to Pakistan at 1-0 goal. But in the next Olympiad, it again bagged a gold medal.
After a gap of five Olympiads, Indian shooter Abhinav Bindra again brought the glory in 2008 Olympic Games held in Beijing by winning a gold medal. Till date, it is a single gold medal won by any individual from India.
So far, India's best performance in the Olympic Games was in 2012 when it grasped six medals, two silvers, and four bronze medals.
In 2016 Rio Olympic Games India has sent 118 participants, the largest number in India's history. But only two of them- badminton star P V Sindhu and wrestler Sakshi Malik- has won medals for India. Sindhu won a silver medal while Sakshi won a bronze medal.
The saddest part of India's association with the Olympic Games is that in spite of its long-term association with the multi-sports event, it has won only 28 medals so far, including nine gold, seven silver , and 12 bronze medals.
It is not that there is shortage of talented sportspersons in India but there are several factors due which India is unable to leave its mark at the Olympic Games.