India’s performance in the Asian Games is heart-warming indeed. It only shows that if the athletes are given proper training facilities and good coaching, they will lift their performances and bring the medals home.
There is also the matter of the sports ministry of the government of India being headed by an Olympic silver medallist, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, who has no doubt guided and instructed the various federations on how to go about their training and preparation routines for the athletes.
Such experience as Rathore has is so crucial, for even the most well-meaning official who hasn’t done the hard yards that Rathore has put in will ever be able to understand what an international athlete requires to win at these events.
The next Olympics are a couple of years away and the preparation for that should start now itself. The Asian Games medal haul certainly gives the hope that with training and preparation, India can get more medals than in the previous Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
P. V. Sindhu was brilliant once again as she got the silver medal, but even she would now be beginning to wonder if she is ever going to get the gold. She has now reached the finals of major events regularly, but not quite gone on to winning the gold medal. It is like a batsman who gets to 99 in every innings, but is unable to score that one run to reach the coveted century.
Mind you, getting to the finals is a tremendous achievement, especially in such a competitive sport like badminton where players hardly stay at the top for more than a couple of years. This is because of young talent coming through regularly. Sindhu has been right up there for the last couple of years and looks good for a few years more, but all Indians would want her to somehow shake off the mental block of the finals and win the brightest medal of them all.
India’s cricketers have shrugged off the losses in the first two Tests and come back brilliantly in the series against England. By winning the third Test, they not only stopped England’s charge, but also regained the momentum.
The Indian fast bowlers have been superb and utilised the conditions to great effect. They have been pretty relentless as they have probed the off-stump of the English batsmen and caused early inroads into their batting. The slip catching has improved considerably and so the attack looks more potent.
It’s not been easy batting in these English conditions where the ball has hardly stopped moving, but Virat Kohli has been unstoppable and has shown that 2014 was just a hiccup. He has learnt from the errors he made then and while he still has his problems around the off-stump — which batsman doesn’t have one — has batted imperiously to notch up two hundreds as this is being written.
It’s been a fascinating Test series so far with the fourth Test too on a razor’s edge at the moment.
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