Ok, maybe failure is too harsh a word (India had won a few gold medals in hockey, I believe), but anyway, here’s an interesting article about India’s surprising ineffectiveness on the global sporting stage (cricket aside), by my namesake, the famous (but-not-as-handsome? :P) Shashi Tharoor.
Every Indian who follows the Olympics has cringed scanning the daily list of medal winners, eyes traveling down past dozens of nations big and small before alighting on a solitary Indian bronze in tennis or wrestling. Worse yet, we have all known the shame of waiting day after day for India to appear on the list at all, as countries a hundredth our size record gold upon gold and Indian athletes are barely mentioned among the also-rans.
An Indian beauty queen, Madhu Sapre, once became an unwitting victim of Indians’ sense of national shame at our sporting insignificance. She was unjustly denied a Miss World title in 1992 because of her answer to the final-round question, “What is the first thing you would do if you became the ruler of your country?” Her response – “I would build a sports stadium” – was considered stupid by the judges, and the almost-certain crown (she was the overwhelming favorite) slipped from her grasp. Sapre’s answer might not have been the brightest, but if the judges had any idea of how desperate Indians are for sporting success, they would have understood that she was not expressing such an absurd priority.
Shashi Tharoor, an acclaimed novelist and commentator, is a former Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Read all of it at: India’s Olympic Also-Rans