A month ago, when the focus was on everything except the participants, not many would have given the Indian contingent a chance to bag a hundred medals. Now that the curtain has come down on the Games, the final count has gone past the 100-mark and what a proud moment it is for Indian sportspersons.
Competing at home against all odds and at a time when venues seemed incomplete and the news was generally negative, one kept hearing about sportspersons not coming to India. But the reality is that even though a handful of stars chose to stay away, there were many more who were world-class. Many of the world’s leading stars are Indians, so to say that the Games were not going to be world-class was in itself an unfair comment.
The tempo that was set with the spectacular opening ceremony was carried through for 12 days and it culminated with an emotional closing ceremony that put to rest all apprehensions of India being able to host a top quality event.
Maybe, the discordant notes were the delayed handing over of venues and glitches in the Games Village. The Indian fans, who cheered us on these two weeks, however, have the right to feel upset and even angry. They were turned away from the box office saying the tickets were sold out, and yet we all saw how many seats were vacant in many stadium.
True, some of the events were sold out, but there were others where tickets were not available and yet there were empty seats. The Indian fan can take solace in India finishing second, a giant leap from their fourth place four years ago. And the haul of medals was more than double we had in Melbourne.
Finally, hats off to all the Indian sportspersons, who saved the Games and made all Indians feel proud every time they stood up to listen to the strains of the national anthem and salute the Tricolour while celebrating each gold medal.
Playing at home is a different thrill for all of us and it showed in our results. As long as we can learn from our mistakes, if we are to bid for the Olympics, I will happily back the bid. TCM