Bigger the contingent; higher the expectations
Before we start building our expectations from more than 100 Indian athletes (121 Athletes have been sent to Rio Olympics) who will be competing in Rio Olympics let me introduce you to Norman Pritchard who won two silver medals in Athletics for first time entrant India in 1900 Summer Olympics. After him it was Indian Hockey team which ruled the team event till Moscow Olympics in 1980. Indian contingent waited for 52 yrs to win their next individual medal in 1952 and further 42 yrs of wait to win another Individual medal in 1996 Olympics.
The 28th edition of Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will see Indian athletes competing for their favorite game like Wrestling to the first woman gymnast performing on the mat. This is certainly the improvement as compared to 56 athletes that we see eight years ago in 2008 Beijing Games. As we have more than doubled the number of athletes we have tripled our expectations. I am thinking is it good or extra pressure on these athletes.
Indian contingent has always been underachievers at the Olympics. It seems like India is winning the slow and steady race in medal tally with their single medal tally growing to unprecedented six at London Olympics in 2012. An ambition that was beyond the realms of reality India will be aiming to reach double digit figures in medal tally at Rio.
While 38 athletes (20 men + 16 women) representing India in Athletics will be the largest unit but more eyes will be on Men’s hockey team failing to qualify for 2008 Beijing Games and making a comeback after winning silver at Champions Trophy. On the other hand another comeback of women’s hockey team after the gap of 36 years has already placed the team in place of history.
India is the second largest populated country in the world after China but we are not even close when it comes to Olympics. While China will be sending close to 400 athletes competing for 306 medals India will be sending one-fourth of the athletes. Indian athletes going for Rio Olympics need blessings and prayer more than expectations. The 126cr Indians must be behind every athlete to help them finishing on podium, see the Indian flag flying high and tears rolling in the eyes.