The Olympics are over with seven medals for India including a historic Gold in athletics and a Bronze in hockey after 41 years. Within a few weeks, the honeymoon with Olympians by politicians, government, sports federation, and corporates will be over until the next Olympics in three years or around the Asian Games. Well, seven medals is a big achievement for a country of 1.3 billion people whereas, in sixteen days of the Olympics, China, the USA, and Australia, etc were winning Gold medals almost every day.
Interestingly, as an Indian, every participant in the Olympics was presented as if he or she was a Gold medal winner in the 69 events in which India participated. But it didn’t happen of course. Winning a medal at the Olympics is not always a miracle rather a journey of Citius, Altius, Fortius – Communiter” or say “Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together”. That’s how the world has moved over a year and somehow India has not reached that level where many nations at par have reached.
Even before the conclusion of the Olympics in Tokyo, celebrations began in India with renaming Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, India’s highest award for sportspersons to Major Dhyanchand Khel Ratna. Will this move enhancement the way we manage our sports?
Perhaps a tribute to the hockey legend would have been rolling out AstroTurf in each panchayat, town, block, or city. Formally naming hockey as the National Game too would have been a gift to the nation. Dragging a national hero’s name and making it a subject of controversy was uncalled for.
The Government could have set up an Olympic Sports Centre for Children & Youth in each panchayat, town, block, or city to allow children and the youth to learn about various Olympic sports. That would have inspired many generations. The children could have chosen some sports to play and could represent India in the Olympics motivating others in the process.
A better tribute to Major Dhynachand would have been institutionalising hockey on the lines of cricket by organising annual national-level hockey tournaments for schools, universities, and the state in his name.
Perhaps the Government of Odisha should consider investing in institutionalising hockey by hosting school, university, and state-level tournaments.
The state government could nurture more athletes in Kalinga Stadium by converting it into Kalinga Valley Olympic Sports Village by acquiring land around it.