How Indians can ensure more medals in the Olympics, Paralympics

BL Chennai Bureau | | Updated on: Jun 29, 2022
Sportstar South Sports Conclave at Taj Coromandel in Chennai. Photo: VEDHAN M / THE HINDU  Photo: VEDHAN M / THE HINDU

Sportstar South Sports Conclave at Taj Coromandel in Chennai. Photo: VEDHAN M / THE HINDU Photo: VEDHAN M / THE HINDU | Photo Credit: VEDHAN M

Professional athletes stress the importance of infrastructure

Infrastructure is a major contributor to the success of sporting nations, says Indian Table Tennis player Sharath Kamal. “Once there is a stadium environment, chances of finding talents become higher. If kids have access to the stadium and to train in international conditions, the ability to find talent and nurture it becomes secondary,” he added, speaking at the Sportstar South Sports Conclave on how India can bridge the Olympic/Paralympic gap.

Former Indian Tennis player Ramesh Krishnan stressed on the necessity of accessibility. "Accessibility to training grounds is a major problem. Even within the city, access to open spaces is difficult, which is necessary for maintaining physical fitness. Even within India, if you want to go to Delhi or Mumbai, it is a long distance, it is almost a continent by itself. For a kid to come through, the travel and the competition are not very accessible," he said.

Speaking on the lack of Olympic medals in the tennis field, he said, "We came close to winning medals in the Athens Olympics in the doubles event but not in the singles. This is because we haven't had enough depth. While we used to dominate in the sport years ago, other countries including Taiwan have started improving at a much faster rate."

Table tennis player G Sathiyan spoke about how more Olympic medals can be guaranteed through the participation of more athletes. "Belief in what you're doing defines a sportsperson. Right now, India is being seen as a threat to most top countries. For an Olympic medal journey, we need much more players coming as a bunch. We have upgraded ourselves well in the Asian Games. It is not merely about the medal but about beginning to compete with the best players," he said.

Paralympic Champion Mariyappan Thangavelu spoke about urgent issues that need to be tackled in Indian sports. "In para-athletics, training takes place merely five or ten days before the competition. If training starts at least one or two years prior, more victories can be guaranteed," he said.

Published on June 29, 2022
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