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  • Writer's pictureNihar Bharwada


It is 7th Aug 2021. A nation of 1.3 billion Indians await with bated breath the country’s first Gold Medal in the Tokyo Olympics. Neeraj Chopra had been on top of his game in the qualifiers heading into the finals. Could he bring that elusive Track and Field Gold, a medal that had evaded independent India for 75 years? He threw the javelin with all his might, many years of training, sweat, defying a career-threatening injury backed

by the nation’s prayers supporting him. It was 87.58 meters. Chopra had done better in the past, but as it turned out, it was the best that day in Tokyo. Gold for Neeraj Chopra! Gold for India in Track and Field!!!

India is a cricket-crazy country and a global superpower in the sport. In the country, there is hardly any other sport where we have made an impact on the world stage. Sports in India are run by associations and federations managed by the Government with meager funds to support the basic necessities of athletes at the formative levels. Our aspiring athletes are made to toil and sweat in mediocre facilities starved of world-class coaches and facilities. By the time they prove themselves and manage to find sponsors to support their skills, it is many times too late. Countries like the US, China, Britain, Australia identify and nurture talent very early producing world champions out of teenagers. India is restricted to certain pockets of brilliance where initiatives at district and state levels churn out champions. A case in point is Haryana which routinely gives us medal hopeful boxers, wrestlers, and hockey players. If a single small state can do it, imagine how the collective effort of 28 states and 8 union territories could achieve. All this requires is a trigger to set goal-oriented plans into motion.

Neeraj’s javelin throw could well be that trigger. And the 2028 Olympics in Australia may be the platform where India rises as a sporting superpower.

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