A fortnight ago the talk in India was about how many medals will the country win at the Rio Olympics. Now, the talk is why has India not been able to earn a single medal even after sending the top 118 athletes in various disciplines. Someone who knows the dynamics of Indian sports and what it means to rise through the ranks through the hostile bureaucratic walls of the federation.
The cost of one Olympic medal for the UK is 5.5 million Pounds – that is roughly Rs 48 crore per medal. So if India wanted 10 medals at Rio Games, it should ideally have invested at least Rs 480 crore on those medal winners.
The question Bindra indirectly wants us to ask all the authorities who run Olympic sports in India is do they invest that much of money on our athletes for the country to expect these many medals.
Perhaps, India should take the example of Great Britain and learn from them how increased sports budget for Olympics have resulted in more medals.
Since the Beijing Games in 2008, Great Britain increased its funding to Olympic sports by a whopping 16 per cent. As a result, they’ve risen in the Olympic ranks from 34th spot at the Atlanta Games in 1996 to third spot at London Games in 2012 to already second place in Rio Games.
It was earlier reported that US spends Rs 22 per day per athlete, Jamaica 19 paise per day per athlete and India just 3 paisa per athlete per day.
Naysayers will argue that it isn’t fair to compare India with Britain’s prowess as a sporting nation but what is evident is that if you have a target of medals to win at the Olympics, and can earmark a budget to achieve to that, it can work. It did so for Team Great Britain, it can for India too, provided the federations work towards that goal in sync with the athletes.