London Olympics: Where Kerala Stands
On Jul 18, 2012
India is sending an 81 member team to the Olympics, with medal hopes in boxing, shooting, and archery, among others. Kerala would be contributing a total of six participants to the Indian contingent, and with certainly no hopes of winning an individual medal.
The six member team includes 800m runner Tintu Luka, triple jumpers Mayookha Johny and Renjith Maheswary and the 20km race walker K T Irfan as individual participants, with Sreejesh P R a member of the national hockey side and V Diju forming one half of the mixed doubles pair in badminton.
“In individual category Tintu Luka is our best bet; she could make it to the semi-finals if she tries hard enough. And we have medal hopes with the hockey team and the badminton team. But then, the unexpected can always happen, as it happened with me when I won a medal at the Delhi Asiad,” says Padmini Thomas, President, Kerala State Sports Council, elaborating on the state's expectations at London Olympics.
“That we have a player in the hockey side shows that boys and girls in the state have begun to diversify their options while pursuing their passion for sports,” she continues “but it was customary for the state to have representatives in the relay team, which isn't the case this time around.”
The Sports Authority of India (SAI) is making master plans to 'catch them young and train them to become world class athletes by the time they reach their peak, in time for the 2020 Olympics. The budget that is proposed to be set apart for this ambitious plan comes to around Rs. 1,000 crore.
Padmini assures that Kerala would be 'properly considered' when the plan is detailed out by SAI; but she reveals bigger things that's being chalked out by the State Sports Council.
“Even before the Centre had come forward with this plan, we had set the files moving on implementing a similar scheme in the state, to prepare medal prospects for the 2020 Olympics. We can't make it official as it is still in the processing stage.”
For a long time, India's Olympics moment meant re-living the long past glorious days of hockey, when the national team used to win glory at the Olympics on a regular basis till the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.
Then in 1996, young Leander Peas did the unexpected and won Bronze at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and the history of glorious hockey was pushed to a distance. In 2000 Karnam Malleswary brought in another bronze in weight lifting, becoming the first - and as of yet, the only - woman from India to win an individual medal at the Olympics. In 2004, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore won silver at Athens, and the nation found a new moment of pride. In 2008at Beijing, Abhinav Bindra aimed and hit gold in shooting, while Sushil Kumar and Vijender Singh won bronze for boxing and wrestling respectively. And in all probability, London 2012 could create new moments to push the present to the distant past.
As for Kerala, the sports scene is still reminiscing on the 'miss by one hundredth of a second' that cost P T Usha, a bronze - in what would have been the first ever instance of an individual medal winner from India - at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. And after that it has been all empty and hence the picture of P T Usha still forms the highlight of the state's sporting history, And seemingly it is fated to continue in that manner for some time more to come, unless the unexpected happens, for which expectations are genuinely nil...
Image courtesy: www.keralapsc-helper.blogspot.com