With the Commonwealth Games attaining great success, the Indian sporting scenario has got a fillip ahead of the Asian Games. The CWG success has thrown up a bunch of new stars from the hinterland, who have showcased the triumph of human spirit over adversity.
The Games also brought the focus back on Olympic disciplines, which had been pushed out of public memory in a nation hooked on to cricket. Track and field, hockey, boxing and wrestling were a grand success, as athletes showed their class and earned podium positions.
The success of young athletes like gymnast Ashish Kumar (silver and bronze) from Allahabad at the Games is a sign that sports is now blossoming in small towns and parents are encouraging their wards to take up Olympic disciplines. "No one was following this game in the past but Ashish's feat has generated medal hopes," said gymnastics coach, Ajay Sethi.
Ashish's father, Jagdish Prasad, is overjoyed. "I don't know what Ashish will do at the Asian Games, but for now our family is basking in his medals' glory," said Prasad, a technician with the Railways.
Wrester Alka Tomar's golden success has made her family famous in Meerut, where her father drives a tempo. Alka won gold in the 59kg freestyle category, outclassing Tonya Verbeek of Canada. "Wrestling was never such a big hit here but after my CWG performance, things have changed," said Alka.
The success of the small town athletes has reduced, if not completely lifted, the pall of gloom surrounding the Games after a host of allegations. Amid the hue and cry over the shoddy work at venues in the run-up to the Games, this is one silver lining which portrayed Delhi in positive light.