The recently concluded Tokyo Olympic Games was a living testimony of human endeavour against odds. The world-wide prevalent COVID-19 Pandemic posed problem of Himalayan magnitude to the organizers. The organizers despite warning from health authorities went ahead and organized the games on grand scale.
Ever since the inception of the Olympic Games, the sportsmen from different strata of society have made their mark on the Olympic stage, leaving memories of their astronomical performance for posterity to remember in times to come.
There has been a monumental shift in the sports niche. The Olympic movement has crossed the boundaries of the metropolis to reach the remote and far-flung areas of the countries and the continents.
Looking at India’s Tokyo Olympic heroes, the neglected small towns and villages are hogging the limelight. No one would have heard of Khandra, Nahri, Khudan, Bara Mukhia, Jhansal, Jodhkhan, Kakching, Lalremsiami, Nongpok, Sirsa, Shahbad, Zirakpur and so on. These are the villages and tiny townships from where one of the best goal-keeper Savita Punia came to earn the epithet of ”The Wall”. Not many people in the country know that It is difficult to pronounce the name of the Baromukhia, Barpathar Golaghat (Assam) where boxer Lovlina Borgohain learnt the nuisances of boxing. These are the places strewn across the country, from Jhahjar district of Haryana to Manipur, Mizoram, Rajasthan or Uttarakhand and even Ernakulum, the Kerala home town of India’s gallant goalkeeper PR Sreejesh. The both Indian goalies Punia and Sreejesh played stellar role to etch their names in the annals of the Indian hockey.
The Indian metropolis with their elite culture, fast-food addict urban youth was relegated to back ground. The centre stage of the country has been snatched from them by our Olympian heroes of small towns and countryside.
The humble origin and hard life of ur Olympians is worth its weight in gold. Kudos to Savita who used to travel 30km six times a week from her Jodhkan village to Senior Secondary School in Sirsa to practice her sport. It is sheer grit and determination of these modest sports persons that brought fame and name to country on the biggest sports podium of the world. The grateful nation will not forget their acts of valour on the sports field that brought glory to the country.