Sunday, July 27, 2008

China's challenge to American Supremacy in Olympics

A large contingent of 639 players has been designated by China to participate in this year's Olympics Games on heir home soil. The Chinese authorities are out to showcase their rapid strides in economic development over last two decades on world stage by making the Olympics event a grand success. But their ambition is not just to organise biggest sporting event ever, but also to emerge as leader in medals tally table taking over Russia and USA.
Early history of Chinese participation in Olympics is marred by international politics. Their first showing at 1936 Berlin Games was pathetic. Olympics could not be held during the second world war. Immediately after the War, people's revolution brought communist regime in china. International Olympics committee recognised the pro-American 'Chinese Taipei' faction and barred China from Olympics. The boycott continued till 1979. China also abstained from 1980 Moscow Games due to political reasons.
China entered Olympics after nearly 30 years at 1984 Los Angeles and the world was shocked by the performance of its players. It was a spectacular show by the Chinese. In spite of boycott by Soviet Bloc countries, its fourth rank in medals table was truly an astonishing achievement.
since then, the graph of China's performance in the Olympics has been on the ascending. At the last Athens Games in 2004, China overtook a traditional 'Superpower' in Olympics, Russia to emerge second only to USA. This time, with the 'home advantage' on their side, China looks set to topple USA from number one position.
China has always fared better in disciplines like Table Tennis, Badmington, diving, Gymnastics etc. This time too, it will look to maintain its stronghold on medals in these sports. The chinese will try to improve upon their Athens performance in weighlifting, shooting and boxing. But for it to overcome USA, their atheletes and swimmers need to improve.
All in all a fascinating tussle between USA and china is set to unfold on 8th August at the huge Beijing stadium. Whether china overtakes USA or not, one thing is certain. China has successfully translated its development on economic front into becoming a powerful sports nation.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

India and Olympics

Even as the world's largest sports extravaganza, Olympics games is just twenty days away, Indian sports lover is more concerned about Sachin Tendulkar's world record. With only10-12 nations playing the sport, Cricket can hardly be called 'Global Sport'. But still, such is its popularity that even club level leagues as IPL and ICL generate huge enthusiasm in the public. It is indeed very sad that average Indian is listless about Olympics and India's participation in world's biggest sporting arena.
Whether it is the less than average performance of Indian Athletes at international level that has resulted in lack of Interest among Indian public; or the fact that India is a very reluctant sporting nation reflects in performance of its players. Which ever may be the case, it certainly is a matter of great shame that a nation with more than 100 crore population can hardly win any medal at the Olympics Games.
For last few years, leaders in government are trying to make us believe that India is poised to become a Superpower(!). But, as far as sports is concerned, India is nearly at the bottom. china has spectacularly demonstrated that rapid strides in economical growth can be translated in development in sports also. In a short span of twenty five years after its re-entry into Olympics, China emerged second only to USA, leaving strong Russia behind in Medals tally at Athens Olympics in 2004. where as India who claims to be close competitor of china in Economic growth, could grab a solitary silver medal.
China are the host of this year's Olympics Games. Naturally, Chinese spectators will be enthusiastically behind their players. Who knows, china might even overtake USA in medals tally. Indian contingent, on the other hand, is really hard pressed to grab even a single medal this time.
Olympics hockey has special place in Indians' hearts. Being their national sport and having won eight gold medals. But the last one way back in 1980 Moscow Olympics. Every time Indians garner hope of a medal from their hockey team. This time around, even that hope has diminished as India could not even qualify for Hockey competition!
Indian athletes are way behind international standards. So, they can not be expected to win anything not only this time but for next many years. Only Anju George is in real contention in women's high Jump. she was disappointing at Athens games. How she fares at Beijing, remains to be seen.
Silver medal performance of Rajyawardhan Rathore in shooting at Athens was an unexpected but pleasant surprise! India expects Gold from him now. Recent performances of Gagan Narang and Abhinav Bindra have aroused medal expectations from them too!
India's challenge in Tennis is led by controversial three musketeers. A few years ago Indian public used to adore doubles pair of Paes and Bhupati. since then the duo has split and in spite of bitterly faught war of words between them, the Indian Tennis officials have wooed them to play together. True, the pair was once a fore to reckon with. But now this uneasy alliance may not be as potent as it used to be.