“Remember, Red. Hope is a good thing. Maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies”
– The Shawshank Redemption (1994) –
The only good thing that more than a billion people in India were looking forward to in front of their television sets was a medal. A single medal in the Rio 2016 Olympics, that was what we were all yearning for. While Dipa Karmakar was inches away from winning her medal, Simone Biles walked in and tore our dreams apart.
More than halfway into the biggest sporting spectacle of the world, the fact that India had not won a medal in the Olympics was not something to be happy about. In fact, our athletes performed even better at the 2012 Olympics than how they performed this time.
The Media Tyranny Behind India’s Medal-less Participation
While there was a huge conspiracy behind the underperformance of Indian athletes in Rio, the athletes themselves complained about the poor treatment by the Sports Ministry and the officials. It was also mentioned in an article that the players of the Indian hockey team were made to rest in a hotel room with just bean bags and that they did not even have the equipment to practice. The coach had gone to a nearby mall using public transport and purchased it for them without making it a big issue and letting the media know.
Whether reports like these could be true or not, it was clear that we did not have enough facilities to compete against athletes from other countries. There were many reports that were mostly negative, and in some cases, reporters were sure that we would never win a gold medal after Dipa finished fourth in gymnastics.
Out Of The Blue, The Medal Dream Came True
While all hope was lost and most of us were not sure if India would walk out of Rio with at least a single medal, there came a bronze medal to the rescue. It might not be gold, but it’s still more valuable than that.
“Meri 12 saal ki tapasya rang layi”, says Sakshi Malik after her nail-biting finish where she bounced back from 0-5 to 8-5 to win her Bronze.
All thanks to Sakshi Malik, a name that was not so popular, but is now music to the ears for more than a billion people today. Winning a medal is always a big thing. But getting this medal without quality facilities, and battling it out in the international arena with sheer grit and determination made it big for her and the rest of the people watching it. Finally, we saw India’s medal tally change from 0 to 1, and the feeling is indescribable.
It might have taken twelve long years for her to win the bronze, but even a hundred years would still be worth it.
Why This Medal Is Important
The bronze medal did more justice to Sakshi and the other athletes battling it out there for the nation at Rio 2016. While we have Ministers and sports officials sleeping over their desks, this medal gives us hope that we can still accomplish big dreams, against all odds, if we don’t quit. And that is one good reason why it did justice to the entire team of Indian athletes running at Rio, not just Sakshi. This medal also comes as a celebration of women power and why we should raise our daughters with equal love and pride as our sons.
As we also join the celebration of her victory, we couldn’t ignore these tweets. Here they are for you:
— Sakshi Malik (@SakshiMalik) August 18, 2016
#SakshiMalik is a reminder of what cn happn if u don't kill a girl child.When d going gets tough,its our girls who get going &save our pride
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) August 18, 2016
— Gautam Gambhir (@GautamGambhir) August 18, 2016
Wonderful to give prizes to winners.
But, let's also announce prizes for facilities & infrastructure.
So, we have others like #SakshiMalik.
— Sorabh Pant (@hankypanty) August 18, 2016
Image source: Indianexpress