Is India ready to host Olympics?
Is India ready to host Olympics?
Indian government and Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has jointly decided to submit its bid for hosting olympics 2024. They have started talking on the initial plans and International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach is all set to visit New Delhi for a day on April 27 to meet prime minister Narendra Modi in this regard. This could create controversy in India as not many people favour the decision to spend crores on hosting the world's largest sports event in a country struggling for development and where living conditions of majority is below average. We would definitely not want to repeat the fiasco that happened during 2010 Commonwealth Games. On the other hand, the new government is willing to experiment with all sorts of popularity gaining strategies to show ourselves large in front of western media. But are we ready to light the Olympics torch yet?
No we aren't:
1. In a country fighting poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, corruption, malnutrition, and many more challenges in every sector, it cannot be a wise decision to spend Rs 50,000 crore on hosting Olympics. Modi government should stop doing things to appease the world power and just to show off how well established we have all of a sudden become as a nation. Only after we have achieved enough to ensure that adequate has been done to improvise life of the downtrodden who constitute a larger section of our population, we can think of taking such giant steps to show off to the world. It is to be noted that even the most developed of nations would think twice before bidding to host the Olympics.
2. If India is to host Olympics, we won't be abe to compete with the other nations that have hosted the event earlier in terms of expenditure and arrangements. Compromise in budget will make us stand at the same position where we were during commonwealth games. Instead we should take our time until we are actually ready for this responsibility. The games in Delhi cost the government Rs 11,600 crore while the original budget was of Rs 1,850 crore since the Delhi government had to spend another Rs 16,500 crore on city infrastructure. We surely aren't ready for something much bigger than this kind of financial planning.
3. India's sports facilities accorded to players and athletes is far below average. India first participated in Olympics in 1900 in Paris and our total medal tally since then is a measly 26 according to TOI reports. We first need to prepare ourselves well, provide world class facilities to athletes and get them well trained before we start pouring millions into hosting the event. To boost sports in India, we need to encourage players with good coaches, nutritionists, physiotherapists and everything else that’s needed to get us higher than the six medals, 55th place in London.
4. For our overpopulated cities like New Delhi, accommodating the visitors of the Commonwealth Games was a difficult chore and Olympics attracts far more visitors from around the world. Even if Delhi plans to use the existing infrastructures for the game, it would become difficult to take in so many visitors, their transit facilities and accommodation. Hospitality cannot be compromised and we do not want to make a fool of ourselves in front of the entire world.
5. We don't have as many athletes from our country as politicians and the bunch never fails to get into controversy accusing each other of fraudulence, corruption, etc. We surely don't want these scenes to be accompanying the headlines of Olympics. And of course there is no point in anticipating that large number of viewers from our country will be eager to go watch the event when there will hardly be a few Indian athletes to cheer for.
6. All we Indians know of sports is cricket of all durations. Nothing is done to promote other sporting events. Even those who are really interested in pursuing other sports usually give up when reality hits hard - we don't have much scope for them in our country. We have stories of how national level champions have to sell their medals or work as maids for their living. We need to make their lives better first, provide them basic necessities and help them train well to be able to participate in games of international level.
Yes, we are:
1. "Olympics in India will boost sports", said swimming legend Mark Spitz. And he is undoubtedly rights. We have lesser participants in other sports because we have lesser events in our country. This could be a way to encourage them, promise them of a better future if they pursue their passion with enthusiasm.
2. Yes, we do lack organization and economic resources to fulfil our olympic dreams but that doesn't mean we should always lag behind and wait till things fall into place someday. If we can dare to dream, we surely can achieve it with the right bit of authority intervention. Yes, we do need to realize that hosting olympics is not just about making it look big as our politicians would believe and indulge happily in scams, it is more about the right judgement and proper coordination which we believe Modi government can do. It will be a matter of great pride for India if it gets to host Olympics 2024.
3. India's medal tally has improved in the last few events but the improvisation has been to one medal more in each event. We need a boost for the players and to accord them better facilities and training, hosting Olympics can act as the best ever catalyst. Sports administration in India also lags behind in many ways. India bidding for the Olympics should get the administration up and running in their favourite sneakers.
4. Expenses can pose a problem and to top that up, our greedy ministers will make sure they have their share of whatever comes out from the treasure. If CWG fiasco is not to be repeated, instead of pouring government money into the event, India should encourage private sector to invest in it. We have large scale billionaire private companies that could be made to invest in the event instead of involving government authorities at all.
5. Being a poor nation is not an excuse to stay poor always. There is poor section in almost every country. The IOC has encouraged or rather pushed India to go for the bid. It is clear that the west can accept our diversity, we ourselves can't. Hot climate and Indian food as some points out are also vague excuses we can keep aside and focus on changing the image we have of ourselves and the same image we have shown the world and western media.
India is a developing nation with considerable growth in medal tally and budding enthusiasm for sports other than cricket. If the government can make better provisions and facilities for aspiring athletes, India can be ready to host Olympics by 2024. Meanwhile India should host national level sports events to encourage more and more participation and to promote the sporting spirit in the country. Cricket is our religious sports and we are yet to appreciate other sports with half the enthusiasm we show towards cricket. Only after proper facilities for the athletes to train better, we can decide if India is actually ready to host Olympics.
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