Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Indian Olympic Contingent Leaves For Beijing

The Olympics are ten days away and the 57 member Indian contingent is setting off. I am not sure of Kalmadi's take on this. On one hand he says don't expect a miracle, and on the other he says boxers, archers, shooters and tennis stars are possibilities for medals. Seems like he rectified a PR blunder :-)

So to get familiar with the contingent, I decided to search for the Indian Olympic Association site to read about the athletes, their profiles, personal bests, expectations etc. In an era, where without searching, I manage to come across news items like this (do I hear a collective groan?), I could not find the official web site - I found one link http://www.olympic.ind.in/ which gives an error.... Of course my mistake was that I assumed that the Indian Olympic Committee will be professional.

A well managed website ahead of the Olympics, would surely help in the future in terms of sponsors, viewership etc. since the Olympics is the only time to gather support for non-cricket sports in India? If you located a website, please post in the comments.

Anyway I digress - here is the contingent courtesy of the good old newspaper.

Archery: Dola Banerjee, Pranitha Vardhineni, Bombayala Devi, Mangal Singh Champia.
Athletics: Anju Bobby George, Krishna Poonia, Harwant Kaur, Preeja Sreedharan, Manjeet Kaur, Chitra K. Soman, Sini Jose. M.R. Poovamma, Mandeep Kaur, J.J. Shoba, Susmita Singha Roy, G.G. Pramila, Vikas Gowda, Renjith Maheswary, Surendra Singh, K. Mridula, S. Geetha.
: Anup Sridhar, Saina Nehwal.
: Jitender, Akhil Kumar, A.L. Lakra, Vijender, Dinesh Kumar.
Judo: Khumujam Tombi Devi, Divya.
: Bajrang Lal Thakar, Devender Kumar Khandwal, Manjeet Singh.
: Manavjit Singh Sandhu, Mansher Singh, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Gagan Narang, Abhinav Bindra, Samaresh Jung, Sanjeev Rajput, Anjali Bhagwat, Avneet Kaur Sidhu.
Swimming: Virdhawal Khade, Ankur Poseria, Sandeep Sejwal, Rehan Poncha.
Table tennis:
Sharath Kamal, Neha Agarwal.
Tennis: Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi, Sania Mirza, Sunitha Rao.
Wrestling: Sushil Kumar, Yogeshwar Dutt, Rajeev Tomar.
Weightlifting: L. Monika Devi. Yachting: N.S. Johal.

To the athletes above, well done to make it this far (against many odds), and know that atleast one cricket loving fan will be following you.

Now if archery, shooting and boxing are our best chances of a medal, I best come out of my comfort zone and get familiar with skeet, rifle category, trap and double trap, recurve etc. I am so impressed that I know these terms, will figure out what they actually mean in competition when I watch them.


Anil Singh said...

I still believe the Indian philosophy for Olympics is participation rather than winning medals. And I don't find any wrong with that.
As winning in today's sports is more than just money, it is accessibility to right technology and methods--Today Quality and not the quantity rules.
As India has more pressing needs to be fulfilled, if the government thinks it is not good to put scarce resources to sports, it might very well be correct;As the decisions at the government level are taken collectively most of the times.

Sport persons who achieve glory with their determination and some government support are always praise worthy.
And the Government rewards to the achievers are definitively a good idea to motivate them and others.

Time has come for every sport to fend for itself, more so in poor countries like India.
People should play those sports that need less or in some cases no resources, in the initial stages.
Like in many African countries people adopt long distance running.
Or adopt those games that have infrastructure already developed, and thus have a glorious history, like Boxing in Cuba.
Some will argue, if every one runs a marathon, then who will play other sports?
No one is barring people from taking other games, but if a person chooses a money intensive game, then it is better not to expect from the government to support him or her, as the nation has more urgent issues to answer.
More so in poor countries like India.

RS said...

@a bisht - I think we are forced to choose participation over medals - and 57 for a billion is hardly great participation number either. Regarding money, I disagree. While I agree Indian govt absolutely has more pressing needs, when state authorities can exempt/discount IPL matches from taxes, when sportstars like sachin got concessions, there is money that can be routed differently. Sachin, Dhoni etc. can no longer be considered in the artists/sportsmen tax category - there should be a threshold of income where it is okay to get benefits, beyond which they need to treated like Ambanis.

Also one suggestion of this post was to have a nice website, so that you can get corporate sponsors. We are spending so much money trying to host Commonwealth games and then bid for the Olympics, then we (govt, corporates, and people) can definitely help our sports people much more.

straight point said...

so they have gone for another paid holiday... :)

AB...mere participation will not fetch us anything...to illustrate my point...look what the emergence of sania has done to our tenis...

once you see or sports persons competing against very best (and winning) it propels interest in respective game and lots of youngsters gets encouraged to adopt the game seeing their hero and heroines ;-)) winning...

and thats why cricket is popular in india coz we beat the best...

the moment we start loosing regularly in it i bet you wont find any takers of cricket too...

moral of the story...

winning matters...

RS said...

@sp - and a paid holiday for moms too - Sania's mom is part of the official squad as support staff :-)

Anil Singh said...

@RS I still stick to the first point I made.
The Indian Government probably knows that the amount it'll have to cough up, in order to make a champion, is hundreds times more than the present allotment.If you compare the amount of money, medal winning rich nations invest per sportsperson, the cumulative budget for the sports on that scale will make the present Indian allotment look meager.
So if the Government thinks, say 8 billion Rs, is too big an amount to be diverted to sports, it very well be correct.

Regarding IPL tax concessions, the special status accorded to cricket is an indication to only one fact--its fends for itself. Not even that it generates money many times more, what is invested.

Ya you're correct,there should be a threshold of income, and above that different rules should be applied.But Democracy though a great thing, sometimes becomes a hand tying institution. All of us would want the Mercedes and BMW owners to pay more for their petrol, but democracy says we can't do that.:)
I don't know, whether this is already done or not, but one way of barring superstars from benefiting from the loopholes of the present laws, is to accord the Industry status to both cricket and Films. If this is done, Tendulkars and Ambanis can be treated alike. So are lesser players and professionals.

I agree with you, a proper website is a must in today's world. When I searched for the official one, I got similar results as you had.
I agree with you, that citizens and businesses should be encouraged to help the sports in the country. To achieve this, the onus lies on the Government to set up a transparent and professional system.
But some responsibility lies on us as well, we should stop suspecting every move of the government and do things for the sake of love for the particular sports.
For corporates, although they are doing great in their respective fields, they need to develop a feeling of gratitude, and do things that are different from making profit, not for long, but certainly for a while.

@ SP
Mere participation will not serve any purpose, but we have little choice, to win medals, per capita spent of every sportsperson goes to the sky, which means diverting money equivalent to the allocation on Flagship projects of the Government.And it is difficult, right now.
But things will start changing within our life times, when a section of India's billion, will have prosperity :)

Calling the Beijing visit to a paid holiday, is a bit harsh SP, after all they are the best among us, and they have every right to participate :)

You are right,Winning matters, but only in those sports where people have some scope of participation, right from their childhood. The achivement of Dhoni is encouraging for most of us, as we had similar opportunities, when we were at school, and we know, not every one can play like Dhoni. Most of us know it, as we had tried playing cricket at some point in our formative years.
That is not the case for Golf, as most people will say,''if we had same money and facilities, we would also have won the Masters.
But reality is not any different from cricket, like cricket one needs to have talent for golf as well.

.......post ek paragraph ka, aur comments karne ke liye, book likhi ja rahi hai"

anyway ::))

RS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RS said...

I would only like to see small steps in the right direction with professional management of the resources, a good plan of action with the money available etc. Creative solutions would be wonderful. I refuse to accept that we cannot do better as a country :-)

a fan said...

yes, IOC site is down and out even before Olympics has started ;)

Read sometime back that among the list of mission points mentioned in IOC, winning is never mentioned :)
So probably, they should first start by fixing the mission statement!!

The main thing missing is "Conviction".

There was a news about Army Sports Institute training individuals for Olympics...and only 1 person is representing from ASI in this Olympics.

According to me,this is a real scary news...if Army can't achieve something, i highly doubt whether any other institution can do real justice towards Olympic mission!!

BTW, i was always wondering whether its possible to lodge a PIL(Public Interest Litigation)against government to really take the Olympics initiative seriously!
Guess, should check with any lawyer regarding this.

RS said...

a fan - you are way ahead of me in terms of PIL :-) Before that, maybe around the Olympics, many channels will come out what is wrong and what should be done (a few interviews with IOA). Though then it will be forgotten again for 4 years.

Winning is not in the mission statement - ouch - they could be the problem.

Anonymous said...

I think we are all missing the 'Olympic spirit' here - Pierre de Coubertin said - the important thing is not to win but to take part'. The Indian philosophy epitomises this - so let's give them due credit. In this mad, busy world, we need to step back and stop thinking of winning all the time. It may make for happier Indians

RS said...

@ tuti

I don't place any blame or want to put any pressure on the athletes who have qualified. In fact, kudos to them for getting this far. My thoughts are for what the authorities can do and what we can do better.

Juno said...


First I think you didnot search thorough enough. This website(i chnaced across) has an excellent article on the Indian Contingent for the Beijing Olympics. In addition to analysing India's olympic chances, it also delves into why India is lagging behind in all sports other than cricket. It is filled with interesting information and makes a real good reading.


RS said...

juno, thanks for your comments and the link. I was looking for the official website, if you find it, do let me know.

And having an almost a 1:1 ratio of officials to athletes seems just bizarre.

Preeti Parthasarathy said...

Hi RS, thanks for introducing the Indian contingent. Being an avid fan of the Olympics, it has broken my heart to see the money "wasted" on Cricket in India thereby causing these "other" sports in our country to suffer. The IOA had an active website till now where as you rightly pointed out, it displays an error upon clicking on the link. Please go check out: http://mittalchampionstrust.com/ started by Laksmi Nivas Mittal in 2007 that funds training of some of our athletes. We need more people like Mittal to do more for our country's Olympic dream. I live in the California Bay area and will be following Beijing 2008 closely. Go INDIA!

Unknown said...

Well said,
I am an Indian working in Beijing. As a true patriot I wanted to watch the games in which Indians were involved in and have a chance to win a medal, have been searching the net since morning and no sign of any profile or any effort on the internet. Now I understand what Kalmadi actually meant when he said don’t expect miracles from the contingent.

RS said...

thanks for the link - good one to know about some of our athletes (pictures, names, categories in one place...). IOA should have something similar!

Prakash Padukone and Geet Sethi have a separate effort as well (http://www.olympicgoldquest.com/) and you are right we need more people like them.

RS said...

check out the link from Preethi,it has some of the athletes...

I am still hoping for miracles from the shooting, archery, boxing folks.

I hope you do watch some of them and let us know how it was. I cannot access your blog, so if you do post anything with respect to the Olympics, do give me a link here.

Preeti Parthasarathy said...

RS, Kuruvilla and others active on this blog:
I plan to send Manisha Malhotra from Mittal Champion's Trust who will be traveling with some of the athletes a Good Luck email with my photo attached. I had also spoken to her when I was in Mumbai this June. I will be happy to also put in your names and photos as well wishers of the Indian Olympic contingent. Please email me directly at: preeti.parthasarathy@gmail.com with your names and pictures in case you are interested.


RS said...

thanks preeti - I am glad you are doing that - I still want to maintain my anonymity :-) But definitely wish them well from me.

Unknown said...


May I suggest a link related to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games?

Our site:

URL: http://www.2008chinaolympics.com
Title: Beijing Olympics

Please let me know if you want a link back.
Many thanks for your reply.

Best Regards,


Anonymous said...

I went to www.nbcolympics.com and when I went to the India representatives link, I see one Pawan Kumar for Diving? Upon further search, I can't seem to find any connection at all? What is this? India sports planning at its best.

RS said...

anon: just saw that link :) not sure if he is current athlete, maybe a judge? I don't think India sent anyone for diving - swimming we did send, and they are young - maybe a hope for the future.

Maybe it is an NBC glitch?

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