India with its rich cultural diversity and cosmopolitan outlook houses a large number of religions. It is home to a large number of minority populations. But we don't share the same diversity in sports. The fact is evident by our dismal performance at the major sporting events. With the second largest population in the world, we struggle to bag a gold medal at the Olympics. At the 2012 London Olympics, we failed to secure a single gold medal. Isn't that shameful? We hosted the 2010 Commonwealth games where we won around 100 medals. After probing by investigators we discovered that it was struck by a scam on account of corrupt organizers. Hockey is our national sport."Dhyan chand" brought India many laurels during the early days in our Olympics. We won six consecutive gold medals at the Olympics. To be fair, our country has been very lethargic and unsystematic towards sports. At present Cricket shares the largest mass appeal and publicity. Cricket has had its good and bad times. We got recognition worldwide when we won the 1983 World cup under the captaincy of Kapil dev. This victory provided us the necessary zest and enthusiasm with more youngsters taking interest in Cricket. At the very beginning of the 21st century, we were struck by match fixing scandals. Sourav Ganguly took charge and rebuilt the Indian team to take it to the finals of the 2003 World Cup. Though we lost to the mighty Australians, it was a mark of new era of Indian cricket. India were crowned the joint winners of the 2002 Champions trophy. We were also the finalists of the 2000 edition under the captaincy of Sourav Ganguly. We also started winning matches abroad and were the number two test side in the world. In 2007 World Cup, we fared badly and were eliminated in the Group stage. However under the leadership of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, we have now established ourselves as an indomitable cricket side in the world. He led the team to win the inaugural twenty-20 World Cup in 2007 followed by the 2011 World Cup. Our domestic T20 sides provenancing in the cash-riched IPL have gone on to win the Champions League multiple times. Dhoni had also crowned India the winners of the last edition of Champions Trophy in 2013.Besides that he took India to the top of the World Test Rankings. Apart from highs, we also had a fair share of lows when we suffered humiliating 0-4 Test series defeats abroad at the hands of Australia and England.
Viswanathan Anand of Chennai has dominated Chess for many years winning the World Chess Championship for a record five times. Pankaj Advani of Bangalore has dramatically progressed in both Billiards and Snooker. Currently the World number one, he is a ten time World Champion. At the Olympics, our performance has been hugely embarrassing. With a country of over 120 crore people, we won only a silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, we won the first individual Gold medal when Abhinav Bindra topped the Men's 10m air-rifle event. We added two bronze medals to our tally. Our hockey side which had been dominant over the years at the Olympics failed to qualify for the main draw. Our performance ameliorated at the London Olympics when we bagged six medals. We clinched two medals each from Shooting and Wrestling and one each from Badminton and Boxing. In the recently concluded Asian games at Incheon (South Korea), India finished with 57 medals to secure the 8th position. This time we bagged 11 gold medals, 10 Silver and 36 bronze medals compared to 14 Gold, 17 Silver, 18 bronze medals at Guangzhou. We bagged gold medals in Wrestling, Shooting, Archery, Tennis, Boxing, and Discus throw, Squash, Athletics, Hockey and Kabaddi. In Kabaddi, both the men and women's team won the yellow metal. History had its share at this edition as well. Legendary Boxer Mary Kom became the first women Indian boxer to clinch the Asian Games Gold. Yogeshwar Dutt won Gold in 65kg freestyle wrestling ending country's 28 year old medal drought in that event. Seema Punia earned country its first Athletics Gold medal in Incheon by winning the women's discus throw event. In a cliff-hanger of a final, the hockey squad led by Sardar Singh defeated Pakistan to win the Asian Games men's Hockey Gold after 16 years thereby earning direct qualification for the 2016 Rio-de-Janerio Olympics. Women's 4*400m relay team clinched the record fourth consecutive Gold. In between these cherished successes came the memorable Gold medals in other Disciplines, fetched by Compound Men's team archers, men's Squash team spearheaded by Saurav Ghosal, Tennis mixed Doubles pair of Sania Mirza and Saketh Myneni. The Kabaddi Men's and Women's team won their respective gold medals retaining their supremacy at the Asian level. Last but not the least the Women's sailing team won its first medal at the Asiad. I sincerely hope that our Government undertakes steps to promote rural talent and encourage Indians to take up sports as their livelihood. We have immense potentialities to become a Sports dominant nation.