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Indian athletes should aim higher

With the Commonwealth Games off to a start in Glasgow, sports followers will be watching the multi-sport extravaganza unfold with interest over the next fortnight. India expects a clutch of medals at these Commonwealth Games, with aficionados bullish on Indian athletes’ prospects in sports like weightlifting and shooting especially, traditional strongholds for India.

In a country where cricket and cricketers are deified, it is refreshing when the focus shifts to other sports. India is making concerted attempts to develop into a multi-sport nation with a thrust on medals on international platforms like these, so it is important that we do look at the Games as one more step in that long and still incomplete journey.

While we, as Indians, may cheer results and applaud medals, let us also see any Commonwealth results in perspective. There is a huge gap in standards between the Commonwealth and world events. There is also a substantial gap between Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games, the latter of course, dominated by the sporting powerhouse, of China.

Then there are the formidable Koreans and the Japanese too in the Asian Games. In comparison, the Commonwealth is still some notches lower, so any gains and great results in this competition by India, may not necessarily translate into medals on a tougher stage.

Yet, of course, one cannot dismiss the Games casually. Like every sporting event, the cauldron of competition, the confluence of cultures will result in athletes gaining immensely from the Commonwealth experience. Huge international platforms like these also help to give you that mental edge, where the fear needs to fall away at the starting line.

Competition is always needed and welcome. One must only guard against complacency and see medals in the context of records and timings on the world stage. Ambitious, talented Indians must no longer be content to be Commonwealth Games champs but hungry for bigger things as well.

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