Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Noted few interesting facts from the olympic medals table. Here's link for complete medal's table.


China lead the table as expected. Its gold medal's tally was way ahead of others. Another surprise in table was TGB or team great britain. 4th place with 19 golds is excellent performance.

Another interesting observation is the number of medals scored by well known sporting countries, like South Africa, Croatia, Brazil. Brazil was 23rd in table and Brazilian president expressed worries about it. South Africa was miserable, finished with just 1 silver. Even country like Portugal was just 1 place above India in the table. So why is it so? Croatia which seems to produce so many talented tennis stars, footballers, is languishing at 57th place. Why can't SA, which performs so well in different team sports like Cricket, Rugby, Football and at the same time produces golfers, surfers can't have more medals.

In my opinion, Olympic medals table is biased and does not represent the sporting talent of a country. Some of the sports have too many medals, like Swimming, Shooting, Weightlifting. Agreed that Butterfly race is different from Backstroke and so on. But should swimming have so many medals. Imagine Phelps having a single medal in swimming and then how would medal's table look like? American medals will be depraved of 1/4th of their medals. Russia on the other hand, in spite of having so many ladies Tennis star, have to settle for a gold and a silver, just because there is single gold in Ladies Tennis. So is the case with many other sports.

So, if a country decides to focus on a single sports, which has many medals, it can perform well in Olympics. Take example of China. Chinese know that they can do well in, say, Gymnastics. They know they are good in it, so they will focus on that. And why not? It has got 12 golds and China claimed 9 of them this Olympic.

So Olympic medal's tally is more about knowing which sports can fetch you medals and just focusing on them. Overall sporting talent of country may or may not matter. That's why Olympic medal's tally is distorted and not true reflection of sporting prowess of countries.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

India @61

India will be celebrating 62nd Independence day tomorrow. India has come long way and is on the path of future glory or at least that's what people claim. GDP figures have been going up. Growth rate, though has been projected down, is decent enough. All MNCs are lining up to enter India. Everyone is buying to the India story.

India's GDP might be growing and it may well become superpower or something. But how does it benefit me? OK, I might have got good job and having more disposable income to spend. But has it improved my day to day life? Perhaps not. And the reason as per me is complete lack of planning in India and complete lack of infrastructure.

Consider basic transportation. Trains are getting crowded ( Borivali locals are now-a-days packed even after Kandivali). Roads are baaaaaaad. It takes ages to travel on potholed roads. Today it took me 40 minutes from Borivali station to Dahisar, which ideally shouldn't have taken more than 5-10 minutes. Things are getting ridiculous. And there is no other option to travel. People may well buy new cars, be it Mercedes or BMW, but ultimately they have to travel on the same crowded roads. Why buy these fancy cars then? Just show-off I guess.

Ditto with any other high end products. iPhone will be coming to India. But would we be able to use all its functions, with lack of high speed connections on mobiles. 3G seems ages away, even after guidelines have been declared. So apart from listening music, which I can do on iPod as well, iPhone is another gadget which I cannot utilize to its maximise potential. Another device for India's nouveau riche to brag about.

So till the infrastructure improves, I doubt how much of the growth will be reflected in the betterment of daily life. And worse part is, it's Government's domain, which has no plan to improve it in keeping pace with the country's needs. Just wondering if things will ever improve!

PS: I have heard lot of claims that this is change phase n all. I am not going to buy that. Change phase can be much quicker and can be better managed. For that there has to be clear intent, which is not there.