Tharoor criticises India`s inability to win Olympic medals

Updated: Nov 17, 2011, 19:40 PM IST

Thiruvananthapuram: Member of Parliament Sashi Tharoor mocked at the pathetic state of the Indian sports and its inability to win Olympic medals, during a discussion at the inaugural session of the Hay Festival that began on Thursday.

"It’s been astonishing that we have been in the Olympics since the 1900 and won just a few medals, while the Chinese who did not participate till the late 80s or the early 90s have won more medals," said Tharoor.

The MP from Thiruvananthapuram said that China managed to win medals even in those sports that it did not traditionally play.

"By Sydney Olympics, China had drawn out a national strategy called Project 119 to win 119 medals in the sports like kayaking, which they did not traditionally play," Tharoor, during a discussion on the rise of India and China and the exercise of soft power with BBC journalist Anita Anand, said today.

At Beijing 2008, China ranked first with 51 gold and a total of 100 medals, while Abhinav Bindra won only one gold for India even as the country managed to bag three medals.

Criticising the "official machinery", Tharoor said, "India did not produce an Olympic champion in a century. We cannot do what the Chinese did."

He, meanwhile, hailed private sector for compensating for the deficiencies of officials and said "what Abhinav Bindra did in the Olympics goes on to underscore the point".