New Delhi [India], Sept.9 (ANI
): In a critical evaluation of the Indian contingent at the Rio Olympics, the Sports Authority of India
(SAI) has observed that "some element of progression in terms of performance level" has been "negated by the regression
in terms of medal tally".
"The medal uncertainty was on account of negligible presence in measurable sports. Even though, Shooting and Archery also come under measurable sports, unlike Athletics, Swimming, etc., the performance here lacks in consistency. So much so that even if the finalists in an event are made to shoot in back to back events, the results are likely to differ in each event," said a highly-placed SAI source.
"Some athletes showed physical fitness issues, which is certainly a matter of concern and reflects on inadequate monitoring. Some athletes performed below par in terms of personal best, which again is a matter of serious concern," the source said, while pointing out that the lacklustre performance of the Indian contingent certainly requires " deep introspection
and remedial measures".
Despite sending the largest-ever contingent of 119, Indian sportspersons floundered in their quest for honours. After bagging six medals at the 2012 London Olympics, expectations were high from the Indian athletes, however, they could return home with only two medals.
"There were some near misses in events like 10m Air Rifle (Men), Vaults (Gymnastics) and Lawn Tennis," the source said, adding that boxers had to face difficult draws in their pursuit of Olympic glory.
Highlighting some encouraging performances in Athletics (Lalita Shivaji Babar in 3000m Steeplechase, Manish Rawat in Race Walk (20 km) and T. Gopi and Kheta Ram in Men's Marathon), the SAI source stated that steps such as liberal funding norms, introduction of TOPS, setting up of Mission Olympic Cell had been taken in the right direction but "may require more gestation period" before producing concrete results.
In addition to these above mentioned observations, the source also listed out areas which require measured scrutiny which include minute evaluation of the performance of coaches, especially foreign coaches, hiring of foreign coaches on the basis of strong track record and enhancement of budget.
As part of the long-term approach, the SAI has suggested a three-pronged strategy for Olympic preparations.
"A set of sports disciplines may be identified where we have very little presence and the objective is of participation in Olympics. These could include disciplines like swimming, triathlon, fencing, judo, taekwando etc," the source said. "The next category should consist of disciplines where our effort would be on progression
...to be within top-8/top-16 positions. Athletics is one major discipline here."
"The final category would be medal-focussed disciplines. These cannot be more than 4 to 6 disciplines. Here our effort would be to have a strong bench-strength to minimise uncertainty in medals. Most countries with strong sports achievements have such specialised approach." (ANI