LONDON 2012 : OLYMPICS & INDIA’S CHANCES
In exactly 363 days, on the 27th of July 2012, the most spectacular sporting spectacle in the world will begin in the capital of England, London.
Olympic Games 2012.
The Olympics are the most anticipated and the most celebrated sporting event in the world. It is the one stage that all sportsperson wants to perform their best and the one victory for which athletes are ready to give in everything. Since 1896 when the first Modern Olympic Games were held at Athens, it has been a constant feature every four years where all the top athletes from over 200 countries in the world meet at a different location in the world. For over a hundred years the Games have been going strong as a symbol of sportsmanship, excellence and resilience. The games have carried on in face of adversity, from Nazism during Berlin 1936 to terrorism in Munich 1972.The only times there has been a break in tradition is during the two World Wars.
With less than a year to go now for the 2012 edition of the Games to begin at London, UK, there has been a quite a lot of buzz about what to expect at the games. This is the third time that the English capital is hosting the Olympics and the authorities have promised to make these Games the most stunning of the all. With swanky new venues which include an artificial beach and a plethora of modern amenities for both participants and spectators, London has outdone itself so far with the arrangements preceding the Games. But as an Indian sports fan, my interest in the upcoming Olympic Games lies mostly in India’s performance. And I’m ready to go out on a limb and say that London 2012 is going to be the best Olympic Games for India in terms of medal tally.
India has never really set the Olympic stage on fire with its performance despite having some very talented athletes. Except for in our national game Hockey, in which the Indian team won 11 Medals, eight being Gold of which six were back to back from 1928–1956, Indian athletes have not made an impact on the biggest stage. India has won a total of 20 Olympic Medals. Our first individual Olympic medal came in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics where Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav won a bronze in Men's freestyle bantamweight wrestling. After that, our next individual medal came much later in 1996 at Atlanta when Leander Paes won another bronze in Men’s Singles tennis.
So what makes me so confident that India is going to give its best performance in 2012? If we look at India’s Olympic medal tally after Paes won only the second individual medal in 1996, India has progressed by leap and bounds. In the 2000 Sydney Olympics weightlifter Karnam Malleshwari won a bronze medal in the Women's 69 kg competition. In the following Olympics at Athens in 2004, India won its first ever silver medal. Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore was the man who raised the bar for India by coming second in the Men’s Double Trap shooting event. But India’s best year at the Olympic Games came in 2008 at the Beijing Games when we won three medals one of which was Gold! Abhinav Bindra became the first ever Indian athlete to win an individual Olympic Gold Medal when he hit the bull’s eye in the Men’s 10m Rifle shooting event. This was followed by a bronze in Men’s 66 kg freestyle wrestling by Sushil Kumar. Then pugilist Vijender Singh won a bronze medal in the Men’s 75 kg Boxing event. India, for the first time had won more than one medal at a single Olympic Games. It was indeed a proud moment for the entire country.
Considering India’s progress report over the past 3 Olympics, there is a very good chance that we will further improve at the 2012 Games. From Bronze to Silver to Gold, from one to three medals in one year, the Olympic Graph has shown a definite rise. And like every Indian, I am highly optimistic about our chances. Hopefully I will be proven right in a year’s time.