As the Rio 2016 Olympics came to a close, India’s medal count stands at a total of two. A bronze secured by wrestler Sakshi Malik and a silver by shuttler PV Sindhu were the only awards the country could take back from the games in Brazil, leaving the country divided over the performance of the athletes.
Day 16, the last day of the Rio 2016 Olympics was an exhilarating day filled with hope for so many athletes from various countries looking to grab the last chance of taking home a medal. Expectations of Indians from their country’s wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt , however, were met with disappointment as the sportsman failed to secure a win.
At the end of the last day, the final count for India stood at a low of two-medals, both secured by women who received a very high level of media and social media attention for their performance. Sakshi Malik had won her bronze against wrestler Aisuluu Tynybekova from Kyrgyzstan and Sindhu had silver after a women’s singles tennis match with Carolina Marin from Spain.
Some Indian star performers had also missed medals by very narrow margins. Shooter Abhinav Bindra who won a Gold medal in the Beijing Olympics in 2008, exited at number four this year, missing the Bronze by just 0.1 points.
Dipa Karmakar, the first ever female gymnast to represent the country at the Olympics, also narrowly missed a medal, by securing the fourth place. She displayed her skills at Produnova, considered to be a tricky and difficult manoeuvre of gymnastics, and qualified for the finals.
Disadvantaged Indian athletes
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 were reportedly from low socio-economic backgrounds and have had to face many financial problems to reach Rio. Despite many attempts from the government and private agencies, infrastructure for sports training remains poor.
India’s low key performance at the Rio Olympics 2016 in terms of gaining medals hasn’t gone unnoticed on social media either, with many expressing their views on the situation that the athletes have had to train in.
WHY CAN’T ATHLETES WHO HAVE NO TRAINING FACILITIES, INSTITUTIONAL SUPPORT OR PUBLIC INTEREST IN THEIR SPORT WIN GOLD MEDALS AT THE OLYMPICS?
— Overrated Outcast (@over_rated) 9 August 2016
Each medal costs the UK £5.5 million. That’s the sort of investment needed. Let’s not expect much until we put systems in place at home.
— Abhinav Bindra (@Abhinav_Bindra) 16 August 2016
— DailyO (@DailyO_) 20 August 2016
For many observers, bringing attention to the problematic hurdles that sports persons have to pass through in the country is necessary. This could possibly prove to be helpful in starting a conversation and perhaps taking steps towards building better infrastructure for sports in India.