Early on Wednesday morning, India dared venturing into the unknown and achieved the near impossible…. Indian scientists, in their very first attempt, placed Mangalyaan inside Mars’ orbit. In their attempt to make inroads to the Red Planet, they surpassed the boundaries of human enterprise and imagination with sheer determination and self-belief. So what if our athletes could not grab another Yellow at Incheon, Red was the colour of the day.
I have no doubt that this remarkable achievement has come at the right time, when our athletes are making every effort to grab a medal or two for the country. A lot is written and spoken about the mental barrier a player or a team faces when it comes to facing arch rivals or strong opponents. Today, when India takes on Pakistan in men’s hockey, high octane performances are in order. With both teams tied at six points, keeping one’s nerve, just as ISRO scientists did, will be the key to victory.
Another lesson for the athletes from the Mangalyaan launch is one in timing — how to emerge from the most difficult situation at the precise moment. At Incheon, we have seen that precision timing is one of the steps to a podium finish. India’s emerging badminton star, P V Sindhu, will have to come out aces in what she herself has alluded to as a ‘tricky’ affair when she takes on M Bellaetrix of Indonesia in Round 16. On the other hand, if India’s Badminton Queen Saina Nehwal wins her quarter-final clash against Iran’s Soraya Aghaeihajiagha, there are strong chances that she will have to face second seed Yan Wihan of China, against whom she has a poor 1-8 win-loss ratio.
Even for the likes of boxer Manoj Kumar who cried foul at not being shortlisted for this year’s Arjuna award, today’s bout would be a golden chance to let his glove do the talking.
Every single athlete has prepared themselves for such key encounters for months and months before the Games. But what matters is how well you deliver at the final stage of your show. Just like our proud Indian scientists did for years, before taking that giant leap at Mars. The coming days at Incheon might seem full of tedious tasks and big hurdles, as the rush to bag medals intensifies.
Now is the time to seek more and more podium finishes. The ongoing wait for bigger podium slots has to end. The great Indian scientists have shown us RED, it’s time for our sporting souls to show us some GOLD!
(The writer is News Editor, The Free Press Journal, heading the Sports Desk)