Why is India's Olympic medal tally lower than that of many countries with a similar or poorer economy?




Praveen Venkiteswara Annu, former volleyball and basketball player

Al, let us draw a graph, shall we?


41-shall we.png

Now, there are four possible scenarios here:

1.Low on talent, low on funding

2.Low on talent, high on funding

3.High on talent, low on funding

4.High on talent, high on funding





Let us look at each of these scenarios.


  1. Low on talent, low on funding

This is the worst possible scenario and definitely not the case with India. Even in such a scenario, if the competition also falls in the same category, the best of the lot wins.

The SAF Games is an example. Look at India's performance. Ne the absence of developed nations and Asian giants.






Source: 2016 South Asian Games

  1. Low on talent, high on funding

This is probably the exact opposite scenario that India is facing. And there is a case where a lot of funding can sometimes outperform talent and a case where talent sometimes misses out due to lack of funding.

The Commonwealth Games is an example. India it the best performing develo nation. Some developed nations manage to outperform India purely on the basis of better funding and training available to them. Ne the absence of USA, Asian giants (, Japan, South Korea) and most European nations.

Look at how much the UK spent for each Olympic medal - How many millions eachOlympic medal has really cost Britain. That kind of funding can turn above average talent to podium contenders.

Source: 2014 Commonwealth Games

译文来源:三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/46470.html    译者:Jessica.Wu

  1. 人才少,资金多






  1. High on talent, low on funding

This is probably the best fit for the state of sports in India now. India has talent, but not enough funding to take it to a level where athletes can compete on a global stage.

The Asian Games can be looked at as an example. In terms of total medals won, Indiais joint fifth on the table behind the big three (, Japan and South Korea) and Kazakhstan who also have the funding to go with the talent. However, the ratio of Gold to Silver to Bronze shows that India lacks that killer edge that is required to go from bronze to gold. That is partly due to the lack of funding and training facilities. Again, ne that USA and Europe are not part of the games.

Source: 2014 Asian Games






  1. High on talent, high on funding

This is the ideal scenario, or the Magic Quadrant, for success. India will hopefully get there in another 20 years, if not earlier. Only when this scenario is met can Indian athletes compete and win on a global stage like the Olympics.

Source: 2016 Summer Olympics





Look at how the developed world dominates the Olympics medals tally. Also ne how the Soviet Union that dominated the medals table till the 90's has lost its grip since the break of the union and presumably lower funding.


has a dedicated program that has enabled it to get into that table. Look at theOlympics medals table before Barcelona 1992 and you won't see in the top 10 of the medals tally. India needs a similar transformation minus the alleged atrocities that the Olympic program has dealt out to young children, if at all the reports are true.


What can India do?


  • An aspect that needs to be understood is that an athlete is in his or her prime between 20 and 30 years of age. This means that they have to attain peak performance somewhere close to 22, which requires talent to be identified and nurtured from a very young age, mostly around 12 years of age.


  • There is also a need for a support sy em that will enable even district level sportspersons to find a job and sustain their career without worrying about their finances. The problem now is that a lot of talent is lost to lack of a reliable future in sports.


  • Instead of rewarding players post facto (i.e. after they win medals), there should be a support program that provides funding of at least INR 10 lakhs/athlete/year for the top 100 athletes in the country which should allow them to use better equipment, afford better coaches and get overseas training, if required.


  • India also needs to learn to embrace all sports, rather than a handful. The more talent we prome, the better are our chances to win medals. That said, we should focus our energy and resources more on some of the core sports that India has been traditionally good at – hockey, archery, sh ting, wrestling, bong and weightlifting while also develo talent in areas that have more medals on offer – swimming, gymnastics and athletics.



Aum Thakkar, Ho to raise the tricolour some day....

India is one of the most populated countries of the world. So it would be question in everyone of our minds that it should perform great at major international events like Olympics and bag not like the US and but at least a dozen of medals.


It would sound astonishing that India has much sports talent which is hidden in many parts of the country, which when groomed properly can surely help raising the tricolour.


The only thing which is missing here is the national hunt for this so called unfound talent. In a country where even the go nment is struggling to supply basic facilities to it's citizens, it is nearly impossible to achieve this mammoth task of hunting for this talent.


Hunting talent is one thing but the sportspersons who are sed for the national team also find it difficult to get proper facilities. Its main reason is that being a develo country it is very tough to spend money on sports though it is one of the most important visions of development. The sportspersons being trained for Olympics hardly get peanuts as compared to those developed nations.


Other reason for this is discouragement of the child by parents for opting sports as a career. It's a typical mindset of the Indian parents is that there's no future in sports so in order to meet the requirements, children are forced by their parents in opting for any academic field like medical and engineering. In countries like and the US, majority of people take sports as career and each and every citizen gets a professional type training from their childhood.


Money spent per athlete in these countries is also way higher than that in India. Mainly, the athletes belong to reme areas and poor households but representing their country at international level doesn't improve their condition.


So if there's more money spent on talent hunt and each sportsperson, it can surely lead to playing of our national anthem at the Olympics many a times. This will also help encourage newer generations learn different types of sports and also improve the net quality of health and lifestyle of the citizens of India.





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