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Judo

Kosovo — A country less populated than Bengaluru won more medals than India

Kosovo despite having a lower population than Bengaluru manages to win more medals than India.

Kosovos gold medal winning Judoka Nora Gjakova
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Kosovo's gold medal winning Judoka Nora Gjakova (Sources: AP News)

By

Ananth Narasimman

Updated: 2021-07-28T10:53:18+05:30

Kosovo, a land of 1.93 million people, erupted in joy as they won gold in two of the categories in Judo. The Balkan state has a population 12 times lesser than that of Bengaluru and has yet managed to win more medals than India at this point at Tokyo Olympics.

Despite being having a population of over a billion people, India has managed to send a weak Olympic contingent with 119 athletes representing them in 85 events, compared to China's 431 and the USA's 613.

Ironically this is the country's largest Olympic contingent. India sent what they thought was a strong contingent of 117 athletes with the expectation of at least getting ten medals but ended up with only two during the 2016 Rio Olympics.

As is the case in most things in our country, we have not learned from history and corrected our past mistakes. Sending a contingent lesser than 200 will not work if your goal is to win ten medals as it is a competitive stage, with the best athletes in the world vying for a top spot.

Plus, many other factors go behind winning a medal, like financial support, sports psychology, and physical therapy, among others. To catch up with other sports powerhouses, we need to give the athletes the best tools from the nascent stages of their careers.

We have Olympic medallists as young as 13 on the world stage, showing us that age is no bar if the athlete receives the right amount of support.

The two medals won by Kosovo came from Judo — Nora Gjakova took a title with an ippon victory over France's Sarah-Leonie Cysique in the women's 57-kilogram division, after Distria Krasniqi beat Funa Tonaki in the women's 48-kilogram judo final on Saturday

Kosovo is the best example of persistence and determination as the Balkan state achieved their independence from Serbia as recent as 2008 and has yet managed to outshine India on the world stage. Our Olympic dreams begin from the grassroots level, and that is where we have to focus our attention the most since the nascent stages are the most crucial.

Programs like the TOPS scheme have truly gone a long way in helping these athletes be the best version of themselves but will need more support if we win consistently.

India's Olympic dreams will get brighter as time progresses, but we need to put more effort into that to happen. Support your local athletes and encourage them however you can, and then maybe one of them will make the country proud by winning the gold.

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