Has The Olympic Spirit of Indian Athletes Received its Due?

-Suchithra Pillai

It was a historical haul for India at Tokyo Olympics 2020 with seven medals – 1 gold, 2 silver and 4 bronze. Accolades have flooded the olympians from all over but the question to ponder is whether it arrived at the right time or not. Their strenuous journey is not just limited to an olympic win, it goes way beyond. A journey of hard work and perseverance, triumphing over every obstacle that crossed their path to reach the podium of Olympics. 

It’s interesting to note that amongst the Olympians, the majority and all winning athletes are from tier 2 or tier 3 cities or remote areas of the country. Hailing from places that do not even have a proper training playground of its own. For Gold Medalist Neeraj Chopra, he had to travel  15 kms from home to access a stadium. Meanwhile, Silver Medalist Mirabai Chanu took lifts in loading rice trucks to reach her training ground, located 25 kms away. Even amidst lack of facilities and proper amenities, it was their strong passion that reaped historical milestones. 

Unfortunately, sports still remain supplementary to academics in India. We have parents chasing their kids towards attaining 90 percent above in all subjects while brushing aside their sports dreams, if any, claiming the future to be dicey. Playing a sport is encouraged as just a hobby and people hesitate in pursuing it as their dream ahead. Not just the mindset, even the number of sport schools and well equipped training centers are only a handful. That too located only at major cities which makes the rural talent at bay with not many options. 

In fact, it’s the like-minded sports enthusiasts and various collectives that support and encourage their counterparts in their sports journey. Speaking to Tell-A-Story, one such collective, Jungle Crows sheds light on the hurdles faced by athletes, vulnerable living conditions, the agony and odyssey of determination and tough grind. Located in the northern part of Kolkata, this collective initiates various programs since 2004 facilitating scholarships and employment opportunities for budding sports stars. With over 3000 supporters spread across Kolkata, Bangalore and Jharkhand, it promotes the unique sport of Rugby. It also takes special measures to ensure better participation of women in sports. 

This video story reveals the intriguing narrative of this amazing sports collective while uncovering the unusual olympic spirit of Indian athletes. Check out the episode to discover the incredible journey, amazing facts and hidden talents across India.

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About the author: Tell-A-Story is a venture into video storytelling, founded by Suchithra Pillai, who comes with over 15 years of experience in the field of journalism, exploring and writing about people, issues, and community stories for many leading media publications in India and the United States. Video narratives along with thought-provoking content in less than 5 minutes, to engage and entertain the audience, is its preeminent vision.


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