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For a nation so large, why was India’s Olympic performance so underwhelming?



Rio de Janeiro: India's Pusarla V Sindhu kisses her silver medal after her match with Spain's Carolina Marin in women's Singles final at the 2016 Summer Olympics at Rio de Janeiro in Brazil on Friday.

Rio de Janeiro: India’s Pusarla V Sindhu kisses her silver medal after her match with Spain’s Carolina Marin in women’s Singles final at the 2016 Summer Olympics at Rio de Janeiro in Brazil on Friday.

RIO DE JANEIRO (Diya TV) — For a nation of its size, India surely succeeds at under-succeeding on the world’s largest sporting stage — the country walked away from Rio with a medal count of two, and it seems during each Olympic Games, rivals China and Russia walk away with a multitude of gold medals alone.

For fans in India — one of the world’s most rapidly developing economies and most populous nations — the results and event often serve as an exercise of despair.

As a nation, India have managed just a single gold medal performance since 1980. During the 2008 Games in Beijing, shooter Abhinav Bindra captured gold for the nation at the 10 meter air rifle event. India’s previous gold medals, the eight won between 1928-1980, all came in field hockey.

To put that in perspective, U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps has won as many gold medals as an individual as India has as a nation since 1900.

The hope of India’s fans rans higher than it ever has in recent history. After the nation’s inspiring performance at the 2012 London Games where it collected six medals, expectations were surely set higher considering India sent its largest contingent in its Olympic history.

The underperforming and shallow medal haul? — A professor from the prestigious Duke University of Indian descent has a theory of his own.

Professor Anirudh Krishna, who is also the co-author of a 2008 paper called ‘Why do some countries win more Olympic medals?’ According to Krishna’s paper, high poverty levels are sufficient enough a reason, this because several other low levels of per-capita income, such as Kenya and Jamaica show plenty of performance at the Games.

“India does not have a sports culture,” explained Boria Majumdar, a leading Indian sports scholar who’s authored numerous books on the topic. Indian athletes who have achieved international success are exceptions rather than products of the country’s sports system, he said.

“Unless there is a synergized sports culture you will never win a string of medals. A fundamental overhaul is needed and urgently so.”

Research shows that academics, not achievement in extra-curriculars such as sports. A popular Hindi saying roughly translates to “if you study hard you will live like a king but if you play sports you will ruin your life.”

“Indians, over the decades, have been mostly pre-occupied climbing the socio-economic ladder. Consequently, the pool of talent created at the local community, school and university levels, leaves much to be desired both in terms of size and quality,” said Arun Navaratna, senior economist at Australia New Zealand Bank.

Additionally, very little support exists in terms of providing support for those who might display an above-average athletic prowess.

“Scarce public investible resources have eluded sports.This is further compounded by misallocation, lack of transparency, poor asset management and an absence of a framework for measuring impact of public spending. This is unlikely to change, despite the government’s best intentions,” Navaratna added.

Scholarships and endowments exist for those athletes, a system which guarantees a basic minimum standard of living. However, the system is littered with red tape, political interference and even corruption, Navaratna said. India’s sporting association is no stranger publicly to to athletic scandal. In 2012, Indian Olympic Association was suspended from the International Olympic Committee for electing leaders with pending criminal charges. As a result, Indian athletes competing in the Sochi Winter Games were forced to do so under the IOC flag instead of India’s.

Just before the road to Brazil began this year, a National Sports Ethics Commission Bill was introduced in the Indian parliament in an attempt to order to improve the overall integrity of sporting culture.

Others blame instead the Olympic sport selection itself.

“With the exception of hockey, Indian sport tends to be focused on events that are not included in the Olympics, most importantly cricket,” Price Waterhouse Coopers said in a June report.

But in what perhaps could be the largest contributing factor, inequality could be responsible for driving the medal-less engine.

“The root problem, as I see it, is one of limited and ineffective participation, arising from the difficulties in gaining access to [serious sports training],” Krishna stated. “Much of the country’s talent remains undetected; it takes a degree of privilege to be a serious competitor.”

For example, South Korea, a country of only 50 million people, consistently racks up their medal count because almost every Korean knows what the Olympic Games are and has a chance to attend a high school, he noted.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a premium of economic incentives for improving the nation’s Olympic record. “Helping individuals advance to the limits of their potential in diverse arenas—including sports—is the development strategy of the future,” said Krishna.

“India needs to invest in the long term, not expecting miracles at the touch of a button,” summed up Krishna.


Biden & Trump hold separate town halls on debate night



Biden & Trump hold separate town halls on debate night | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON (Diya TV)  — It was supposed to be debate night, a second battle between former Vice President Biden and President Trump. But after the President’s COViD-19 diagnosis, an in person battle wasn’t in the cards. The President did not want to do a virtual debate, so both men held separate town halls at the exact same time to try and win over voters with less than three weeks before the election and millions of people already casting their ballots early.

Many of the biggest Desi names in entertainment got together for a virtual ‘South Asian Block Party’ to support the Biden-Harris campaign. In just a couple hours, $250,000 was raised, with a number of the prominent figures sharing their personal stories on why they are supporting the Biden ticket.

Pakistan’s government has banned TikTok, citing complaints alleging the popular video app carried immoral and indecent content.

Simran Sethi, ABC TV’s Executive Vice President of Development and Content Strategy, is putting in place a new set of inclusion standards to ensure the television network accurately reflects society.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Indian American professor missing near Mt. Rainier



Indian American professor missing near Mt. Rainier | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Sam Dubal, an Indian American anthropology professor at the University of Washington, has been missing for days, according to his sister, UC Hastings law professor Veena Dubal. Sam is said to have gone on an overnight hike and backpacking trip near Mount Rainier in Washington state. Park rangers have found his car, but there is still no sign of him. If you hear about his whereabouts, you are asked to call 360-569-6684.

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee began a week of confirmation hearings for US Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Judge Barrett praised the legacies of Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia. Judiciary Chair Lindsey Graham set the agenda and defended his decision to move Barrett’s nomination forward. Barrett could become the first justice placed on the court right before a Presidential election.

Actress Mindy Kaling took the occasion of being on the “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” to announce she just gave birth to a baby boy named Spencer in September. It’s the second child for Kaling, who told Colbert her daughter Katherine reconnected her to Hinduism after her birth.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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President Trump & First Lady contract COVID-19



President Trump & First Lady contract COVID-19 | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON (Diya TV)  — The world’s attention is focused on the health of President Trump and the first lady after they disclosed they both have the coronavirus. The President is 74 years old and is considered in a high risk category. White House spokespeople say the President was flown to Walter Reed Medical Center for observation and will be there for a few days out of “an abundance of caution.” Sources close to the situation say the President is experiencing a low-grade fever and that he took an experimental drug cocktail to boost his immune system. The First Lady, Melania Trump, remains at the White House. Trump confidants Hope Hicks, Kellyanne Conway and Bill Stepien also contracted the virus.

Well wishes for the President are coming in from around the globe, with one of the first messages of support coming from Indian Prime Minister Modi.

There are tributes around the U.S. to mark Mahatma Gandhi’s 151st birth anniversary. Political leaders sent their well wishes and there was a ceremony at the Indian Embassy in Washington to commemorate the occasion.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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