Some new sports that can improve India’s medal prospects at Olympics

Here is an idea for India to improve its pathetic Olympics medals record– a total of 20 until the 2008 Beijing games. India should say no matter what the competition is they will only play cricket and chess.

These are the only two sports, although it is seriously questionable if chess is a sport in the athletic spirit of the Olympics, that India excels in but not included in the games. India used to totally dominate field hockey but that was decades ago.

China has won more medals in the first two days of the London Olympics than India is likely to in the entire event. At the Beijing Olympics India won three medals, one gold and two bronzes. There are several reasons why Indians do not win almost any gold medal ever. They have won only one so far and that was in 2008 when Abhinav Bindra won it in the men’s 10 meter air rifle shooting.

The most plausible reason why Indians do not win gold medals is because they have so much gold sitting at home that they have no allure for it at the Olympics. “Meh, I have higher carat gold around my neck than there is in that medal. So why bother?,” seems to be the logic. They would rather buy it than win it.

Coming back to the idea of India insisting on playing only cricket and chess, it makes sense because they have culturally internalized those two, particularly cricket. Chess was, of course, invented in India some 1500 years ago.

The only form of cricket that can work in the Olympics would be a truncated version T20 or 20-20. The current version, which has the two teams playing 20 overs each, lasts three and a half hours. That is too long but not so much when you consider that there is the 250 kilometer cycling men’s road race that lasts five hours. Football games last 90 minutes. It is possible to shorten T20 into T12 and conclude it within 120 minutes.

As for chess, I don’t know much about it in terms of durations but I am sure a new rapid version could be developed to suit the ever shortening attention spans of spectators. Or the other option is to let the competition go on throughout the entire duration of the Olympics and then conclude it on the last day.

There are two more new events which the Olympics organizers might consider introducing from 2016—fasting as in staying hungry as a political protest and arguing as in debating. It might even make more sense to combine the two, where contestants both fast and argue simultaneously. It would be interesting to see how the quality of their debate diminishes as their energy saps. I am pretty sure Indians would do well at those as well, although I do see several other Asian challengers here.

If you cannot decide whether I am serious or mocking, it is because I am not sure myself. The more I think about them, the less absurd some of these ideas seem to me.


About chutiumsulfate

South Asians can infer from my name what I am. View all posts by chutiumsulfate

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