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Why Indian athletes are falling back in Olympics 2012?

Its time to celebrate, for India has won 6 medals in Olympics for the first time. This is the best performance from the country. Last year, we could bring home, an individual Gold and this time most number of medals ever. But these strides are too small and a tally of '6' is a pittance for a country which is home to world's second largest population and one of the fastest growing economies.

Indian contingent this year was the best both in quantity and quality consisting of 86 sportspersons, in form and high on expectations. Many of them despite having clinged gold in CWG, Asian games and international championships, unfortunately, could not convert that success to medals in Olympics.

What went wrong?
Our sports stars are highly capable but are not Happy Individuals. Olympics being the biggest sporting event draws the best sportspersons from across the world who fight their heart out to make it to the podium. In this throat cut competition the sportsperson has to deliver his/her best, both physically and psychologically. And this is where our stars are falling back.

Now lets take a closer look into the ground realities. The truth of Indian sports is that it is a sleeping dragon, hiding and forgotten most of the time but blowing fire only when Olympics are around.

Firstly, there are structural and logistical gaps in facility chain and infrastructure provided by govt to sports development. Major upgradations indeed have taken place in boxing, hockey, track events, wrestling, weight lifting & shooting in recent times. But still sportspersons and their coaches time and again complain that these facilities are neither of international standards nor lined on latest technologies. And most of other sports like swimming, rafting, tennis, badminton are growing outside the umbrella of sports authority, confining them to privileged only.

Secondly, the sportspersons do not receive as many incentives as claimed on the paper by authorities, which is a demotivator indicating that they are an ignored lot. Third is lack of professionalism. Neither the sport nor sportsperson's needs are taken seriously. The delivery of goods is not timely. Management is more cynical than analytical.

Fourthly, Indian athletes are always behind their counterparts when it comes to Stamina. Absence of a disciplined nutrition plan and guidance of a professional dietician or nutritionist at the sports centers is the reason to this. And also they are more prone to injures, fractures, ruptures, muscle tears. This was seen this year too. Scientific and technical aspects of the sport are not inculcated in the training. Study on impact of stretching, lifting, landing, footwork and adoption of techniques to minimize the stress on body are not focused upon.

Fifthly, the training is solely sports oriented with least work done on psychological robustness of the sportsperson. Focus, stress busting techniques and counseling help the athlete a lot on the field. After failing in the qualifier round, the statement given by Deepika Kumari's- "I am too young to cope with the stress" is an example of this setback.

Hockey team which displayed a game of dismay, has a story to tell. Political influence, non merit selections and poor training facilities are the main causes of the poor performance.

Last but the most important is lack of international exposure. Many of our sportspersons find it difficult to adjust to foreign climate and food. Also they find foreign crowd to be not supportive and fall to home sickness.

All these factors acting together left India far behind its potential this year too. Indeed the overall performance and rankings of Indian players have improved but could not reach top three medal earning slots once again.

Ganga A