Prakash Padukone : Don't blame govt & SAI; Athletes should be held accountable

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Prakash Padukone : Don't blame govt & SAI; Athletes should be held accountable

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SportsCafe Desk

08/26/2016

While everyone is busy bashing the Sports Ministry and the federation officials for India’s poor performance at Rio Olympics, badminton legend Prakash Padukone believes that athletes themselves have to be held responsible for their dismal performance in the quadrennial event.

After winning six medals at the 2012 London Olympics, India sent their biggest-ever Olympic contingent to Rio hoping to win their biggest-ever medal tally. But, India managed just two medals – one bronze and a silver – from the Games to the disappointment of the fans. The blame game for the dismal show at Rio started even before the end of the Olympics and many held the Sports Ministry and federation officials responsible for the poor showing, while the athletes got away without going through much criticism.

In his column in the Times of India, badminton legend Prakash Padukone wrote against the notion of blaming the officials for the athletes’ performance and added that athletes themselves have to be held responsible for their dismal performance.

The performance of the Indian contingent in Rio has come as a disappointment."

“The performance of the Indian contingent in Rio has come as a disappointment. Against an expectation of at least eight-ten medals, we've returned with two. However, I have been noticing a tendency to blame the government for all our problems in Rio, and I do not support this approach,” Padukone wrote.

“In fact, I will go to the extent of saying that for the first time in the history of Indian sport, I will not hold the Sports Ministry or SAI responsible for our below par show. To some extent, the athletes themselves have to be held accountable for their performance. Many may not agree with my views, but this is a fact.

Padukone, who is a co-founder of Olympic Gold Quest, a foundation dedicated to the promotion of Olympic sports in India, also praised the government and the Sports Ministry for spending the amount of money they did on the athletes. He also wrote against the idea that spending more money will get you more medals.

In the last four years, the Union Sports Ministry and Sports Authority of India, along with some private foundations, have spent a lot of money on Olympic probable, and the athletes were provided most of the facilities they requested."

“In the last four years, the Union Sports Ministry and Sports Authority of India, along with some private foundations, have spent a lot of money on Olympic probable, and the athletes were provided most of the facilities they requested. Sadly, the money spent has not yielded medals. The lesson here is that the number of medals a country wins may not necessarily be proportionate to the money that it spends on its athletes,” the 61-year-old wrote.

“Overall, our top athletes have not really ensured that they are at their peak when it matters the most, which is one hallmark of a great athlete. You know the schedule well in advance, so you need to plan backwards and make sure you are at your best during the competition period. Look at any of the great athletes, and you will find that they employ special experts to monitor their training: when to train, when to rest, when to stop, what to eat, how much to train, the works.

“Looking ahead, we need to do the same by recruiting physiotherapists and other experts, and go in for time bound planning. It would be interesting to know how much the government spent on the Rio 2016 probables against those who went to London in 2012. I am assuming the 2016 amount is twice or three times the 2012 spending, and yet the 2016 medals tally is less than half of what we got in 2012. Obviously, some serious introspection is required to find the reason for the pedestrian performance, despite the increased spending,” he summed up.  

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