India's London dream may be unravelling but Asia is having a dream run at the 2012 Olympics. In fact, these Games have the continent at its best.
Boasting an unprecedented five out of the top ten spots on the medals tally, and with a collective haul of 32 gold medals so far, Asia is in the middle of its best Olympics ever, six days into the London games. Better than even Beijing four years ago.
With 10 days still to go in the 2012 Olympics, countries may move up and down the medals table.
But a comparison of the performance of Asian nations at the same stage of the games, across Olympics since 1896 shows that the continent’s growing economic and geopolitical standing is also now increasingly extending into dominance at the quadrennial sporting extravaganza.
The Olympics have traditionally been dominated by the United States and Europe – including the former Soviet Union. Led by China, Asian nations have in recent Olympics marched up the medals tables.
Six days into the Olympics in Athens, 2004, Asian countries had together won 27 gold medals, while European nations had won 39.
Four years later in Beijing at the same stage of the games, Asian nations had won 30 golds – including Abhinav Bindra’s bulls-eye for India -- leaving behind Europe with 26.
In London, the gap between Asia and the rest of the world has widened still further – with Asian nations totaling 32 golds so far against just 24 for European nations, based on the official medals table at 7:30 pm on Thursday.
In total medals too, Asian countries have steadily improved their performance from 65 medals at this stage in 2004, and 70 in 2008 to 76 in London so far.
China isn’t alone responsible for this growing dominance. South Korea in third place, North Korea in fifth, Kazakhstan in eighth and Japan in tenth are adding muscle to the Asian presence at the top of the medals table.