Olympics 2008 got underway at Beijing as the city welcomed the world to the29th Olympic Games at Bird’s Nest Stadium on August 8 with an Opening Ceremony that began at 8:00 p.m
Here are a few things about this years Beijing Olympics
Bird’s Nest is Beijing’s national stadium which took four years to build. Beijing Olympics would be held from August 8-24. The slogan for the games is “One World One Dream”. The official logo for the games is titled “Dancing Beijing”. It is estimated that there are around 1,00,000 volunteers for the games which is the highest ever compared to the past.
Some of the performers Indians could watch out for in the Beijing Olympics are :
Rajyavardhan Rathore – Shooting(Double Trap Men)
Anju Bobby George – Athletics (Long Jump)
Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupati – Tennis (Mens Doubles)
Dinesh Kumar – Boxing (-81 kg category)
Sania Mirza – Tennis (Womens Singles)
In a country like India, the adulation and following received by cricket are unparalleled as compared to other sports which are always at the periphery when it comes to following. These are sports such as Wrestling, tennis, Archery, Athletics which are taken to in other countries compared to cricket which is played only by a handful of countries and that is one of the primary reasons for India’s faring badly at the Olympics. If you want a reality check try recollecting the name of an Indian athlete or an Indian boxer in the recent past who did the country proudly!
The sad part is that the awareness about the Olympics and debates on it comes out of the closet just before and after the games. But what happens during the 4 years of recess? Athletes and sportsmen practice in anonymity, striving hard with circumstances pertaining to their sport and society while their counterparts in more glamorous games like cricket and tennis steal all the limelight. It is a struggle every day for each of these athletes who look for support from their family, society, and the government. Lack of proper training facilities, coaches, gear, and equipment compounds their malady even further. But despite all these odds stacked against them, they do surface in National events still trying, to get a berth in the Olympic squad and do justice to the years of toil and efforts put in anonymity.
All the efforts of these valiant athletes who overcome all sorts of odds (inferior training facilities, lack of funds, no support from the Govt.) are buried under the lack of interest of an entire nation interested only in cricket. It is heartening, however, to see the efforts of certain Organizations in promoting these neglected sports in India.
The statistics of Indian participants at the Beijing Olympics courtesy:
Statistics and inputs on Beijing Olympics courtsey: NDTV 24*7