One Billion and just One Gold Medal

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6 people are having a discussion on the topic (Pratik, Kishan, Trisha, Jyoti, Shahrukh, Himanshu)

Category: Sports

Group Discussion Starts

Shahrukh: Hi all, the topic given to us is: “One Billion and just One Gold Medal”. I would like to begin with the fact that – India, The world's largest democracy wins fewer medals per person than any other country in the world: one medal per 383 million Indians. In 2008 in Beijing, India won a solitary Gold medal. India is the world's 2nd largest population and it is 9th largest economy in the world. It is the biggest democracy in existence. Also it is one of the oldest nations in history. But India is certainly not good at winning Olympic medals.

Jyoti: The reasons are many but it surely indicated that Indians are lacking into what it takes to be an Olympic winner. Indian athletes have won total of 26 medals in Olympics.  Countries like USA, China, Germany and France bags more medals in one year compared to what we have won till date in Olympics.

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Trisha: India places 55th in the world, If we rank countries by the total number of Olympic medals. Also in the ranking India tied with Morocco and Thailand, even though India has participated in twice as many Olympic Games as either country.

Himanshu: This question has been raised many times – that despite a population of over 1 billion why there are so few medalist. The first and foremost thing is there are some factors particular to our country that explain this trend. And that could be lack of support to sports person from family, school / college, state and nation.

Pratik: I agree with Himanshu. But there are many more issues we can think of.  The main three factors as per my observation are: we like cricket more than anything, we love food and we love movies.

All these three things plays vital role in our performance in Olympic. In our country majority of people prefer cricket over any other activity. Children are also attracted towards this game only and unfortunately it is not even part of Olympics. If we talk about food then we prefer oily food and which ultimately result into more fat in body. And we can say movies are like our integral part of life.

Kishan: I completely agree with Pratik.

And also we believe in culture of festivals. We enjoy a lot during these days. While if you observe foreign countries which is performing well in Olympics, we can clearly see that people are more focused about their health and fitness. And also countries make huge investment for sports activities and which lacks in India.

Shahrukh: We lack in sports activities also because of corruption in India. There are corruption in providing adequate sports facility to schools, colleges and state sports centers. Also at every sports centre there will be administrator cum coach.

Trisha: However, Indian athletes are not all that bad. Field hockey, tennis, badminton, chess and Indian cricket teams are routinely among the worlds finest.So, counting Olympic medals would be a poor way of quantifying India’s overall athletic talent. It that's not what the Olympics are about. Our country might have thousands of the world's best archers, basketball players, runners or swimmers.

Himanshu: In India Sport was never a priority for a majority of parents and kids. Even we have a saying in Hindi 'Kheloge kudoge to honge kharab, padhoge likhoge to banoge nawab' which means that if you play then your life will be a waste but if you do well in academics then you will be a king". Also most of the Indians are either belongs to middle class or below. So they can’t afford expensive sport facilities.

Pratik: Well, I don’t think money is an issue. There is a striking question that many African countries are doing better than India despite of having lower GDP, lower HDI, lower per capita Income and poor governance as well. Also in these countries there are many issues related to public health, education, opportunities for advancement etc.

Jyoti: In foreign countries like USA, European countries, China, Japan or South Korea there is much better economic safety compared to India. So, if one person is interested into sports he can focus more on sports than other activities. If he/she couldn’t do satisfactorily in this area then he/she still has a good chance to get middle class life. In India, even gold-medalist doesn’t have a good career opportunity, even if he/she becomes a coach.

Shahrukh: Yes, definitely we do have population more than a billion, but not all can think of career in sports. With slou efforts and investment one can do far better in other areas of career. And if we count then we have very few athletics compared to overall population.

Kishan: Other reason is we don’t follow Olympic Games much, I am sure there will be many people who don’t have any idea about Olympics. In foreign countries schools, colleges and universities focuses more on these sport games and have specific program for that. While in India, students and parents are concentrating only on academics.

So we are also lacking in providing sports related knowledge and motivating children to do well in sports. Moreover, Indian parents discourage their children if their children are inclined towards sports.

Trisha: One more problem is there are more rural people, less educated people, less participation towards sports compared to other nations.

Jyoti: Other developing countries except India have managed to do quite well at the Olympics. If China can lead the world in gold medals so why not India? The answer is simple. Despite of having huge rural population China has came up with well connected, well educated and enthusiastically participative initiatives towards sports.

This is a time for the Indian government, to start a campaign to galvanize national athletic talent.

Pratik: Still, income and governance alone can't explain countries performance. As we can see there are poor countries without proper governance have still done well in winning medals. But they have managed to do good in just 1 or 2 sports. India, it seems, has yet to identify an Olympic event where its people might exceptionally excel.


There are many reasons to why India getting very few medals despite being one of the most populous nation of the world. The reasons are less preference given to sports, more interest towards cricket and other activities, lower facilities in-terms of infrastructure and coaching, more focus on academics etc.

There is a need to take initiatives related to sports. Only government initiatives are not enough, there is also need to sensitize Indian people who are more focused towards academics and believes sports is not a good career option. India has tremendous potential to become a world leader in sports if the correct facilities and opportunities are given to everyone at the right age and time.

Facts related to the topic

• The world's largest democracy - India wins fewer medals per person than any other country in the world: one medal per 383 million Indians.

• India is the world's 2nd largest population and it is 9th largest economy in the world.

• It is the biggest democracy in existence. Also it is one of the oldest nations in history.

• Indian athletes have won total of 26 medals in Olympics.

• India was placed 55th rank in Olympic medals in the world in 2012 London Games. In this ranking India tied with Morocco and Thailand.

• India won a single gold at the 2008 Beijing games