Fresh from a remarkable performance at the Hangzhou Asian Games, India is showcasing a burgeoning sporting prowess. Leveraging its vast population, the nation is now expanding its influence in a wider array of sports. This shift in the sporting landscape is being driven by progressive policies, evolving attitudes, and increased participation from the private sector.
In his 2001 paper titled 'The Correlation Between Economic Underdevelopment and Sport' in the European Sport Management Quarterly, former International Association of Sport Economists vice president Wladimir Andreff demonstrated that a country's chances of winning Olympic medals rise with higher GDP per capita and a larger population. Andreff's key insight: economic development is the primary antidote to sporting underdevelopment.
Companies are investing in sports, particularly in training and supporting individual athletes, and they are achieving a solid return on investment. As the economy thrives, we can increasingly view sports as a catalyst for economic growth, beyond being merely entertainment.
Sporting success and major events stimulate the economy, but the reverse is now occurring: economic prosperity driving sporting excellence. For instance, Indian cricket's massive growth emerged after the BCCI harnessed its economic potential.
The 2011 National Sports Development Code in India recognized sports as a national priority for social development, inclusion, and employment. Consequently, the sports budget has steadily increased, hitting its peak in 2023-2024.
The Asian Games occur on a quadrennial basis, gathering athletes from across Asia to compete in a wide range of sports. This grand event holds the distinction of being officially recognized by the International Olympic Committee and stands as the second-largest multi-sport extravaganza worldwide, trailing only the Olympics in terms of size and significance.
The Asian Games emerged after the Far Eastern Championship Games, which were superseded following World War II. Championed by Guru Dutt Sondhi, an Indian International Olympic Committee member, the idea of an all-encompassing sporting event for Asian nations materialized. Inaugurated in New Delhi in 1951, these games were initially governed by the Asian Games Federation until 1978, with the Olympic Council of Asia taking over since 1982. The emblem, a rising sun intertwined with rings, symbolizes the event. Nine nations have hosted the games, with 46 nations participating, except for Israel since 1974. Over the years, 44 sports have been featured in the Asian Games, and India, the event's founding member, hosted the first edition in 1951, as well as in 1982.
PM Narendra Modi vowed full support for Indian athletes, expecting an even better showing in the next Asian Games. He lauded female athletes' excellence and reaffirms the government's dedication to their training, facilities, and opportunities. The Indian Men's Hockey Team won the gold medal, and the Indian Women's Hockey Team claimed the bronze medal in Hangzhou.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed Indian athletes for their "historic feat" of securing 107 medals at the Asian Games. He commended their unyielding determination and relentless efforts, asserting that their triumphs have filled the nation with pride and underlined their dedication to excellence.
Prominent corporations like Reliance Industries, Tata Group, JSW Group, and Adani Group have made substantial contributions in supporting and sponsoring medal-winning athletes at the Asian Games.
India's outstanding display at the Hangzhou Asian Games led to numerous historic medal wins. Avinash Sable secured India's first-ever gold in the men's 3000m steeplechase, while Parul Chaudhary clinched gold in the women's 5000m race. Annu Rani made history as the first Indian woman to secure an Asian Games gold in javelin throw.
Indian athletes wrapped up their triumphant run at the Hangzhou Asian Games with an impressive tally of 107 medals: 28 gold, 38 silver, and 41 bronze. This remarkable performance has ignited optimism for a robust display at the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Nations competing in the Hangzhou Asian Games are extending a range of incentives to motivate athletes to secure medals, including rewards like homes, monetary rewards, automobiles, and government positions. Although athletes emphasize their primary motivation is glory, achieving a medal, especially gold, can bring substantial financial rewards.
Today, sports have evolved into lucrative ventures for a wide range of stakeholders, including athletes, corporations, advertisers, and sports governing bodies. Million-dollar deals have become the standard rather than the exception, benefiting all those involved. This shift towards transforming even the least commercially viable sports into profitable enterprises reflects the significant and widespread interest in these disciplines among all stakeholders.
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