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India’s association with the Olympics

India first participated at the Olympic Games in 1900, with a lone athlete (Norman Pritchard) winning two medals in athletics. The nation first sent a team to the Summer Olympic Games in 1920, and has participated in every Summer Games since then. India has also competed at several Winter Olympic Games since 1964.

Indian athletes have won a total of 20 medals, mostly in field hockey. For a period of time, India’s men’s field hockey team was dominant in Olympic competition, winning eleven medals in twelve Olympiads between 1928 and 1980, including six successive gold medals from 1928–1956.

The 2008 Summer Olympics has been the best ever Olympics for India with India winning three Olympic medals in three different sports and also winning first individual Olympic gold medal won by Abhinav Bindra.

Olympic Medals Won by Sports

Sport Gold Silver Bronze Total
Field hockey 8 1 2 11
Shooting 1 1 0 2
Athletics 0 2 0 2
Wrestling 0 0 2 2
Weightlifting 0 0 1 1
Tennis 0 0 1 1
Boxing 0 0 1 1
Total 9 4 7 20
Source: Wikipedia

Who selects the athletes for competing in Olympics from India?

 The Indian Olympic Association, and was created in 1927 with Sir Dorabji Tata as its first president and since that year has been the body officially recognised by the International Olympic Committee as India’s national Olympic organisation

The Indian Olympic Association is responsible for selecting athletes to represent India at the Olympic Games, Asian Games and other international athletic meets and for managing the Indian teams at the events. It also acts as the Indian Commonwealth Games Association, responsible for selecting athletes to represent India at the Commonwealth Games.

India at Olympics 2012, London

India is scheduled to take part in the 2012 Summer Olympics to be held in London from 27 July to 12 August 2012. The Indian government plans to spend over Rs. 2500 million in preparing for the games, including around Rs. 200 million on foreign coaches for various events. Ajit Pal Singh has been named the chef de mission of the Indian contingent by the IOA. India will send an 81 athlete team to London, this will be India’s largest contingent ever at the games.  Details are available here.

Times of India has profiles of the entire Indian contingent, here.

Citizens do their bit for the ‘Olympic Gold Quest’

Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ) is a program of the Foundation for Promotion of Sports and Games, a Not for Profit (Section 25) Company.

Its vision is to scout for potential medal talent, to help identify areas of support, to work with all stakeholders to aid deserving talent. It seeks to assist potential athletes to achieve their dream and win olympic gold medals.

The team consists of prominent sportsmen (like Geeth Sethi, Prakash Padukone, Leander Paes, Vishwanathan Anand) and corporators (like Neeraj Bhardwaj of Accel Partners, R. Ramaraj of Sify) and others.

As per their website:

OGQ strives to compliment the efforts of the Indian Government and various Sports Federations in identifying and funding the best and most deserving medal prospects for the Olympic games. OGQ has short-listed six individual disciplines viz. shooting, athletics, boxing, wrestling, archery and badminton as the ones in which Indian athletes have the strongest potential to win Olympic medals.

OGQ brings together eminent sportspersons, business leaders, sportswriters and talent scouts to identify emerging athletes, understand their training needs and requirements and raise funds to be used for supporting athletes with Olympic medal winning potential.

OGQ experts systematically oversee and benchmark the progress of athletes and provide funds to them so that they will have access to the best coaching and training facilities and to exploit scientific aids including planned nutrition & diet.

OGQ guarantees that 100% of funds raised goes towards the training and preparation of its athletes for the Olympics as even its administrative and marketing expenses are met by the promoters of the company.

It takes just 6 gms of Gold to lift the worth of a nation. (They got that right…)

All in all its a commendable effort. Its heartening to see that they are supporting so many athletes in the country’s quest for gold.