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Indians at the Olympic Games

On the occasion of the football World Cup, I had written a small post on the scene of football/soccer in India. Since then they created an Indian tournament with local teams and a few soccer Grandpas, international ex-stars, coming to lend a hand. Some clubs also finally understood that if the Indians are really crappy at soccer, on a global scale, it could be because nobody has actually ever invested in this sport; and that there are hidden talents, even if only statistically, when you take the size of the population… For instance, Paris-Saint-German has an Academy in India with programs especially in Gurgaon and Bangalore. So as FC Barcelona, Liverpool and Arsenal (source).Million Dollar Arm cricket movie.jpg

It reminds me of this movie I found very moving, Million Dollar Arm (a coach of American football who goes and recruits players in India through a cricket throwing ball selection to make them American football superstars).

But the topic of the day is actually the Olympic Games, just to be a little trendy. India sent this year 118 participants to Rio and harvested 2 medals. And not the least medals, in my humble opinion, since they were both won by women. And BAM. Silver in badminton and bronze in wrestling. The fact remains, however, that India totals 28 medals in the Summer Olympic Games since 1900, with 24 participations – the same number of medals that this machine of Phelphs got for himself this year alone! I don’t even speak about the Winter Olympics... 9 entries and 0 medal.

India,Indians,sport,olympics,olympic games,football,soccer

India,Indians,sport,olympics,olympic games,football,soccer

Source: Wikipedia

The topic of the moment in India is to understand why Indians are doing so bad at sports. I hear a lot of the absent sport culture, about parents who do not encourage their offspring to pursue sports, that there are not enough subsidies or enough money to make in this field and not enough sports facilities. And nobody says anything about the heat. And that maybe, after generations spent their lives sweating like pigs to make a living and put food in their plates, they don’t feel like chasing a ball for fun? (and anyways they may have become too fat for that)

India,Indians,sport,olympics,olympic games,football,soccerThat said, this is a big generalization to say that Indians are bad at sports. Maybe they do not shine in the Olympic Games, but since they do nothing like anybody else, they also have a whole series of local sports*. Some involving being dragged in the mud by a Buffalo (Kambala). Others fighthing while playing rugby and touching each other (Kabbadi). There are also rowing races boats and canoe and a lot of sports related to archery, wrestling and stick fight, like Kalari in Kerala. Even, at the time of the Vedas (more than a hundred years B.C.), “men of stature and circumstance were expected to be competent in chariot-racing, archery, horsemanship, military tactics, wrestling, weight-lifting, swimming and hunting. The guru-shishya (teacher-pupil) relationship has always been an integral part of Indian sport from time immemorial. Indian sport reached a peak of excellence when Buddhism held sway here.” Less known, these sports have somehow survived and would deserve some attention, if not a Olympic spot! (Bad luck for Indians that cricket and polo were discontinued in the Olympic Games)

india,indians,sport,olympics,olympic games,football,soccerIt is also a big generalization since it seems that India ranked 3rd in the Special Olympic Games of 2015 – a competition for athletes with mental disabilities from 8 to 71 (different of the Paraolympics where competitors have physical disabilities). India gathered 173 medals! The best athletes are not necessarily those you could expect ;)

* Source:


A July trip to Rishikesh

First week of July. It’s time to leave Gurgaon with the family, at least the time of a long weekend. Four months since we have moved and we haven’t really ventured outside our society! Gurgaon is not the most entertaining place and we somehow get super lazy to drive one hour to go to Delhi …

My friend was in favor of flying (to Dehradun) and I booked train tickets (to Haridwar). So that I would not have to experience more turbulences than necessary! And you should see how much they feed you in this 4 hour train with full on AC: chai, toasts, chai, breakfast, lunch and more if there had been time! However it was a little less funny on the way back when we were nearly 2 hours delayed...

We went for three nights in Rishikesh. It was completely off season, with the rain, and most of the guest-houses were empty. Especially those oriented outdoor activities – for example, it has become very trendy to do rafting on the Ganges. I would have been really happy to stay at the Glasshouse on the Ganges of Neemrana (cf the posts and photos of my previous trip in 2008) but it has become far too expensive, monsoon or not monsoon! For half the price we stayed at the Rainforest House, a guest house, which doesn’t look anything fancy from the outside, but the rooms are very nice, the family room open to the outside, offering a completely vegetarian cuisine which tries to incorporate Ayurvedic principles, a great yoga room, monkeys jumping around and the Ganges at a few minutes’ walk. There are a few disadvantages, mainly the quite dicey 500 metre walk down from the main road (and up on the way back), the owners (an Anglo-Indian couple who built the house), nice but they really keep to themselves and a more than fluctuating phone network – although personally I see it rather as an advantage! 

Despite the humidity, Rishikesh is definitely charming during the rains... Including the ‘Beatles ashram’ (Maharishi Mahesh Ashram) and the Vashishta caves which are by the Ganges and offer the opportunity of a nice walk along the river, with more nature than in Rishikesh city.



When there is no more space there is still space!



Daily scene on Gurgaon roads

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