India can go faster, higher, stronger

Reuters

India's Saina Nehwal holds up her bronze medal at the women's singles badminton victory ceremony at the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Wembley Arena August 4, 2012.

Article Highlights

  • It’s easy to declare the #2012Olympics a washout for India. With only 4 medals, the country is 45th in the medals table.

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  • The way to increase India’s #Olympics medals haul? Push economic reforms. @Dhume01

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  • Despite being 45th in the medals count, India will end these #Olympics with its richest ever haul of medals. @Dhume01

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It's easy to declare the 2012 Olympics as another washout for India. With four medals as of Wednesday evening, the world's second most populous country stands 45th in the medals table, 69 behind top-ranked China. India's beloved field hockey team, which has accounted for most of its 24 medals over a century of Olympic competition—incidentally, only two more than American swimmer Michael Phelps—has lost every match it played. The supposed rising power trails the Dominican Republic and Jamaica.

But India's Olympic glass is actually half full. Compared to how dismally India used to perform, it's begun to turn things around. The country will end these Olympics with its richest ever haul of medals.

No less significantly, a new can-do spirit has begun to replace the drooping shoulders of the past. Earlier this week, Indians were glued to the television as Mary Kom punched her way into the boxing semi-finals. Sports Minister Ajay Maken excitedly tweeted Tuesday that, before London, only five Indian athletes had ever qualified for the finals of a track and field Olympics event. In these Games alone, three made the cut.

The full text of this article is available via subscription at WSJ.com. It will be posted here on Monday, August 13. 

 

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About the Author

 

Sadanand
Dhume
  • Sadanand Dhume writes about South Asian political economy, foreign policy, business, and society, with a focus on India and Pakistan. He is also a South Asia columnist for the Wall Street Journal. He has worked as a foreign correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review in India and Indonesia and was a Bernard Schwartz Fellow at the Asia Society in Washington, D.C. His political travelogue about the rise of radical Islam in Indonesia, My Friend the Fanatic: Travels with a Radical Islamist, has been published in four countries.

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