‘Merely ploughing money into sports does not translate into medals’
Competing in 15 disciplines with an 118-member contingent, the biggest ever at the Olympic Games, there was hope that India would emulate its best-ever tally of six medals, achieved at the London Olympics in 2012.
However, the shooters fired a blank for the first time since Athens 2004, and boxers failed to win a medal for the first time in eight years as two unassuming young women saved India the humiliation of returning empty-handed.
P V Sindhu, at 21, became the youngest Indian to win an Olympic medal after bagging a silver, something never achieved in badminton, while Sakshi Malik's bronze was also a first for women's wrestling in the country.
India’s Test captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said that a combination of proper infrastructure and guidance along with passion can help India in becoming a ‘sporting nation’.
"What we have seen is that sports is definitely developing in India. I can see a lot of positive things happening in India. It may take a bit more time but with proper guidance and people having passion for sports, I don't think we are far away from becoming a good sporting nation," Dhoni said.
He stressed that there are no short-term results in sports and a nation will have to make sustained investments in developing infrastructure and providing an enabling environment for sports if it has to get more medals in Olympics and perform well in world tournaments.
"After one Olympics, if we invest in sports and say we will get a gold medal in the next Olympic, it doesn't work like that in sports. How it works is that you provide the infrastructure, provide education about nutrition and health."
"Once the athletes have all these things at their disposal over a period of time, the nation will develop as a sporting nation. That is very crucial," he said.
Dhoni said merely ploughing money into sports does not translate into medals for the country and investment is needed over a period of time in the form of parents and schools encouraging children to take up sports.
"I think it is very important for parents and schools to push (their children) for sports and promote sports. That is how you will bring medals when its comes to games such as the Olympics. Money doesn't directly get you medals. (Sports) cannot be result oriented alone, you have to work over a period of time and educate people," he concluded.