India’s gold treasure
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India’s performance in sports has been becoming increasingly impressive and excellent. In recent years, from Olympic to Commonwealth, Indian sportsmen seem to be in competition to bring home more and more medals. This scene was never being seen in earlier days. When Indira Gandhi was prime minister, first Asian games called as Asiad were conducted in India. But the performance was not that much laudable. Indian squad was consisting of more than hundreds of players but were unable to bring single Gold medal. It was always asked that why the country of eighty crore population can not bring a single gold home? Now the situation has changed from top to bottom. The medal tally of India always reaching in three figures and India has not seen famine of gold medals in recent tournaments. This is the paradigm shift India is enjoying due to government’s extreme encouragement to sports field and prime minister Narendra Modi himself is fully supportive of sports. This has brought many gold medals in competitions like Commonwealth games and occasionally gold in Olympic also. The thrilling spurt of speed with which Avinash Sable nearly caught Kenya’s Abraham Kibiwot in the final of the men’s three thousand m steeplechase was one of India’s best feats at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games (CWG). Sable didn’t win gold, but he got a silver in an event in which Kenyan athletes have been dominant — the last time Kenyan men did not make a clean sweep in the three thousand m steeplechase at the CWG was in nineteen ninety four. In Birmingham, Sable beat two Kenyans, ending up only zero point zero five seconds behind Kibiwot. There was more good news in athletics the next day — Eldhose Paul and Abdulla Aboobacker did a 1-2 in men’s triple jump and Praveen Chithravel finished fourth. Before that, Tejaswin Shankar had won a bronze in high jump and Murali Sreeshankar a silver in long jump. These medals must be cherished because competition in athletics at the CWG is tougher than, say, at the Asian Games. Since Milkha Singh’s feats in nineteen fifty eight, India has won only five athletics gold at the CWG in sixty four years. What Paul, Sable, Aboobacker and the others did in Birmingham is very creditable. India won 61 medals in Birmingham, including twenty two gold. It did much better in 2010 in New Delhi — one zero one medals, including thirty eight gold. In the next two editions, too, India’s numbers were better — sixty six (including twenty six gold) in two thousand and eighteen , and sixty fouor(including fifteen gold) in two thousand and fourteen. But the Birmingham haul is superior to that in the previous three CWG because India’s strongest sport, shooting, was absent from the menu this year. India had won fourteen gold on the shooting ranges in 2010, seven in 2018 and four in 2014. India, as hosts in 2010, had also included archery in the program, winning three gold. This is new India which is showing it has no dearth of talented athletes and players in all sports. In earlier years also, there were talented players but they used to being denied opportunities because sports associations were dominated by nepotism and government’s interfering. The true talented players were sitting at home and the squad that was going to the tournament consisted of protégés of office bearers of sports associations. Now there is total transparency in sports affairs and the result we are seeing now. India can have medals in hundreds if the bribery and nepotism is removed from the sports field. This has been proved beyond doubt. The ambassadors of new India are different and they come from rural areas of Hindi belt states. It is a disgusting fact that no athlete from Maharashtra has shown his existence in the squad.