Thursday, August 12, 2021

India in Olympics

Tokyo 2020 closing ceremony (Source:

One of the reasons I didn't blog for almost a month was the Olympics. I wasn't checking blogs either during that time. 

I was totally engrossed in the live telecast of so many events, both in which India was participating and those in which India wasn't.


Sony was the official broadcast partner for India, and they did a really good job. There were separate live feeds of almost all the events. There was a separate channel for events in which India was participating.

Every evening, I picked the events that I wanted to watch the next day and made sure I kept myself free, as far as possible. With so many events being telecast live simultaneously, I had to constantly toggle the channels!

The official Olympics website and app were also good with live updates of all the events. I used to keep a watch on that as well so I could switch when an event became interesting.

The only constraint was the timing. Japan is three and a half hours ahead of India. So on some days, it was a bit of a struggle to wake up early after a late night at work.


The only game in which India was good at in the Olympics was field hockey. India won its first Olympic medal in 1928 when its hockey team won the gold. It remained unbeaten winning six gold medals consecutively till 1956.

Then it was silver in 1960, gold in 1964, bronze in 1968 and 1972, nil in 1976 and gold in 1980. All in hockey. Then onwards India hasn't done well in the game.


India had to wait till 1996 when other sportspersons began making their presence felt and began picking up medals.


Leander Paes - bronze - tennis


Karnam Malleswari - bronze - weightlifting


Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore - silver - shooting

Abhinav Bindra. (Source: India Today)

Abhinav Bindra - gold - shooting

Vijendra Singh - bronze - boxing 

Sushil Kumar - bronze - wrestling


Vijay Kumar - silver - shooting

Sushil Kumar - silver - wrestling

Gagan Narang - bronze - shooting

Saina Nehwal - bronze - badminton

Mary Kom - bronze - boxing

Yogeshwar Dutt - bronze - wrestling


P V Sindhu - silver - badminton

Sakshi Malik - bronze - wrestling


Neeraj Chopra (Source: Sportstar)

This year was the best so far. Compared to all previous years, India competed in the most number of events (18), sent the most number athletes (70 men and 54 women), and got the most number of medals (7).

Neeraj Chopra - gold - javelin throw

Mirabai Chanu - silver - weightlifting

Lovlina Borgohain - bronze - boxing

P V Sindhu - bronze - badminton

Ravi Kumar Dahiya - silver - wrestling

Bajrang Punia - bronze - wrestling

Team - bronze - men's hockey 


Two events in which India lost the bronze medal match but won the hearts were one, in bronze in which young Aditi Ashok finished fourth after staying tied in 2nd place for almost three days; and two, the women's hockey team that fought so hard in the bronze medal match but lost to Britain.

Besides these two:

Vinesh Phogat lost in the wrestling quarterfinals

Mary Kom lost in boxing pre-quarterfinal

Deepika Kumari (world No.1 in women's recurve category) lost in the quarterfinals

Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary lost in shooting 2nd qualification stage


There are many reasons why India hasn't generally done well. 

One is the lack of good global-level infrastructure for athletes to train; two, lack of resources for them to go and stay abroad for long durations to train; and the third is the traditional attitude among Indian parents putting more emphasis on their children's studies rather than in sports.

All of these have been changing in the past decade or so, and that's getting reflected in India's performance on the global stage, not just in the Olympics, but more importantly, in many other world championship events.

And I am sure the best is yet to come.


  1. Hari OM
    Oh yes, and it can only reflect well on the country as a whole. Such positivity is much needed for Bharat-Ma these days! Now I'm looking forward to the Paralympics!!! YAM xx

    1. Hi Yamini - Yes, though there were a few heart-breaking narrow misses, generally we all felt good about the games, and the way the boys and girls fared.

  2. 3 1/2 hour difference isn't much. You weren't able to DVR things that you could watch later? I used to do a lot of that, fast forwarding through things I wasn't terribly interested in, but this year I just didn't keep up with it. Too many sports, too many channels, and too busy with work.

    It sounds like you enjoyed it. India did well.

    1. Hi Liz,

      Ya, three and a half hours isn't much of a difference for events from around 11 or 12 o'clock onwards.  That would be like around 8 - 8.30 here.

      But some of the events used to start much earlier. Like some of the hockey matches started at 7 am IST. 

      On the last day of golf, when the young Indian prodigy Aditi was doing very well, some of my golf enthusiasts woke up at 4 am to follow the live telecast! 

      Considering I go to bed only around 2 am (unless it's a holiday), waking up before 8 becomes a bit of a problem. Still, I did on a few days!  

      For my television, I have Amazon Fire TV Stick (which works via Wi-Fi), and I don't have the DVR option. A few service providers here who offer access to TV channels via dish antennae, do provide the DVR option.

  3. First the good news. Now I have started to receive info about your blog post from both of your sources – feedburner and Interesting to read about Indian medals at the Olympics. Looks like you have OD’d on Olympics. Wish you had included India's Flying Sikh in the "Narrow Misses" category.

    1. Hi Rajan, yes, it was a bit of an enjoyable overdose!
      The narrow misses were only for this Olympics.
      But of course, Milkha Singh missed bronze in the 1960 Rome Olympics, and much later PT Usha missed bronze more narrowly in 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

  4. Hi Pradeep - so pleased you were able to indulge ... and that India did really well - especially bearing in mind the pandemic. Laender Paes ... I've known about for years on the tennis circuit - a great character, as well as a spectacular tennis player.

    I saw a fair amount this year - but get overloaded with so much so often, and ours were repeat - because the time difference. See in the morning, but repeated throughout the day - overload!

    Great you had fun and India achieved - cheers Hilary

  5. That's a pretty impressive run of medals. Plus you got a field hockey medal again. I hope the next Olympics go as well for you.

    1. Hi Jeanne - Yes, getting an Olympic medal in hockey after so many years was something. In fact, hockey is India's National Game. So, you can imagine the excitement it created in the country!

  6. I was very interested in your information in the blog re: India and Olympics...performance in varying sports. I may have told you once before in a blog I have great interest in India and Indian friends. So, always love to read something I can talk about.

  7. A refreshing post. The athletes are a true inspiration.

  8. Great to have a resume of the Olympics Games, as I was away from the TV almost all the time. Just coming back home, and visiting online!

  9. Agree...this is the first time i had watched Olympics in so much detail and with a choice to watch what I want, thanks to Sony!

  10. Glad you enjoyed watching the Olympics. The hockey medal was so heartening!

  11. yes, the best is yet to come and it will. Seems that you were keen much for the Olympic sports and observed tings in the proper pathway. A useful analysis,Pradeep.