Suddenly when I am thinking about Rio Olympics and the largest ever Indian contingent, one lasting image that comes to my mind is Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela In Invictus motivating the Rugby team. Almost like the film, I feel this Olympic contingent to Rio and their performance could go a long way as an important milestone as was the South African Rugby team’s performance for Mandela’s first term.
Yes it’s not just the largest ever Indian contingent to an Olympics event, it’s also perhaps the most that the Government has ever spent/allocated for this sporting extravaganza. We always complain about how our sportsperson do not perform at par with other nations but a brief look at some of the ground realities that they have to contend with and inequalities that they have been facing thus far.
This is the first time that Government officials and players will be paid at par. So far officials got paid significantly higher than the actual players who bring glory to the nation. In Prime Minister,Narendra Modi, “Previously, the government officials sent along with the team of athletes used to get paid more than the athletes. We have removed the disparity. Everybody will get same amount of money.”
Not just that players are being given ample time to acclimatize to the local conditions. As compared to the earlier instances when they got just a few days, this time they are making the journey on August 5, giving them a good 15 days to adjust to the weather conditions ad the local challenges there. It is needless to mention that this step surely gives them a better chance to put in their best.
Not just that. It is the first time that every Olympic Village will have an Indian food stall to facilitate the players the comfort of home food if they so choose. A country so diverse that even if the residents of the northern most state come to the southern most, there is a striking variation in cuisine and food habits, imagine what our players had to contend with in a complete foreign land. This is one of the most striking outcome of teh study that the Government undertook to analyse the underperformance of our sportsperson at this mega event.
As 122 sportsperson across 15 disciplines get set to shine in Rio, perhaps the nation’s sentiment is best reflected in the Prime Minister’s word. “Each member of the Indian contingent has between Rs 30 lakh to Rs 1.5 crores spent+ on her, I’m sure our athletes will win the hearts of the world and will show the world what India is about.” He added, “Sports is a necessity of life. Let everyone play and shine,” and hoped that in the next Olympics in Tokyo every district will have a representation.
The number of Olympic medals that this Indian contingent wins is a separate point but the fact remains in a nation that’s on the verge of celebrating it’s 70th independence day, it’s teh first time ever that our players have got a fair chance on this major international platform.