The recently concluded IAAF World Championships in London ended on a disappointed note for Indian Athletics. But was it a surprise?
Have we learnt anything from our past performances and disappointments and done some introspection?
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Countries with lesser infrastructure and low economic growth rates have been doing consistently well at the global stage such as Kenya & Ethopia. In fact war-torn Syria won a medal as well at London.
It’s not as if talent is lacking in Athletics in the country. Lalita Babar, Inderjeet Singh, Neeraj Chopra and Davinder have made it to the finals over the last couple of years, so lack of talent is definitely not the root cause.
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Probably our priorities are not in the right place. By winning medals at continental meets the Federation, Coaches and Players are able to cover up their flaws and pacify the fans for sometime. But this does not really help the sport in the long run.
We have coaches who have been with the squad for ages with almost no accountability, foreign coaches who are unknown in their own countries are brought on board, coaches with doping allegations and so on and so forth. The two major issues of age frauds and doping are rampant at junior level are not nipped in the bud.
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India topped the medal chart at the 2017 Asian Athletics Championships held in Odisha with 29 medals and drew a blank in London whereas China and Japan won seven and three medals respectively in London. So there is definitely some reason for our lack of performance.
Is our focus merely on sending the biggest contingent at each world level meet or winning medals is also a target?
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Merely saying that our young athletes get the necessary exposure at the Global meets does not cut ice any more. How many of our athletes achieved their personal best at London?
In the 120 years of Athletics at the Olympics, we are yet to win a medal and have won only medal at the World Championships. We are definitely going wrong somewhere and addressing the issues do not seem to be a priority.