India appeared in the Olympics Games for the first time in 1900 and has been making a move towards meaningful participation since then. With a mixed performance so far at Rio 2016, optimism still remains.
India has been present at the Olympics for more than a century now and has sent a range of sportspersons to take part in the games. However, the country has won just 26 medals in total, of which most are for hockey.
India began catching up after winning 6 medals in the last Olympics held in London, 2012, the highest tally in one edition in the country’s history. With winning participants such as wrestler Sushil Kumar, the previous edition was a thrilling event for India, and it rightly set the tone for the ongoing games. The world also got introduced to Mary Kom, a female boxer from North-East India, who became the first Indian woman to win a Bronze in boxing.
The Rio Olympics 2016, in Brazil, South America, is receiving participation from the country in large numbers. In total, 119 Indian athletes are currently representing the country there. Hockey, swimming, rowing, tennis, shooting, and wrestling are some of the sports that India is participating in. Despite the exit of shooter Heena Sidhu on Day one for Women’s 10m air pistol, expectations remained on shooter Abhinav Bindra who previously won a Gold medal in the Beijing Olympics, in 2008. With his exit as number four, however, he has missed the Bronze by just 0.1 points.
Furthermore, the performances in Tennis proved slightly disappointing with unsatisfactory performances by the likes of Leander Paes, but there is still scope for changing the position of the country in this major sporting event.
India is most excited with the participation of Dipa Karmakar, the first ever female gymnast representing the country in the Olympics. She displayed her skills at Produnava, considered to be a tricky and difficult maneuver of gymnastics, and has qualified for the finals.
Mostly from poor economic backgrounds
Poor infrastructure, lack of funds, limited access to training and other such problems often serve as a disadvantage for Indian athletes. A majority of the participants at Rio 2016 are reportedly from low socio-economic backgrounds and have had to face many financial problems to reach Rio. Despite attempts from the government and private agencies, infrastructure for sports training remains poor.
Nonetheless, India has set its feet firmly on the Olympic path despite many challenges. With growing participation, slow and steady progress is in sight.