Why are Indians unable to win a gold medal in the Olympics?

At every Olympic Games, rivals China and Russia walk away with multiple gold medals. For fans in India—one of the world’s most populous nations and fastest growing economies—the event is an exercise in despair.


When we think of the word ‘sports’ we construe it as a past-time, a means of leisure and a key to fitness, but do we think of it as a career? It is estimated that out of ten people only one aspires to take up sports as a career. When asked why, the apparent answer we get is “ there is no scope “. When we dig deeper, we get to know that people consider sports as an activity that is limited to school and nobody goes beyond that to think of it as a means of earning ones daily bread. Parents refrain from encouraging their children from opting for sports as a career and teachers also lay more emphasis on studies. Sports do not command the same amount of respect as studies. Indeed, education tends be the highest priority for the average Indian household instead of extra-curricular activities such as sports.

India doesn’t’ have that much of infrastructure which is required to produce an Olympic gold medalist.
I am not saying that our country is far behind winning the Olympic gold medal, but problem is that we don’t have that kind of support system and sports culture that could led to Olympic gold medals.


What I have observed is Countries doing well at Olympics are either Developed countries or developing countries with authoritarian regimes who want to prove something at global stage like Russia & erstwhile USSR parts, China, North Korea, Cuba etc. These countries spend disproportionate effort & money for sports, They divert financial & Human resources from other critical areas to sports. Many young are forced in to sports. India falls under neither categories. Outside these Only Kenya, Jamaica, Iran & a few Eastern European countries (which are not that all developing) do decent enough. Both these categories have good sports infra, First has enough funds, second enough political will.

Indians are not athletic naturally. Also hot weather is a big handicap for physical sports. Hence, Indians will find it difficult to excel at Football, Athletics, Tennis etc.

As said by OP, Indians are mentally not inclined to look at sports seriously. Though we are seeing a change there.

Indian public and political class are apathetic to sports. Less availability of finance also plays it’s part. These combined have resulted in poor infra in India for sports. We don’t have good physical infra, training facilities, good talent nurture programs, well managed tournaments etc.

Indian are increasingly getting ahead in many sports. We are seeing a change in public mentality. Govt is slowly but steadily improving infra, sporting events. Associations are being managed professionally more than ever. And, With economy improving money is flowing in to many sports.

Though I don’t expect India to dominate at world stage but we will see an India performing far better than presently. We will be sooner than later in the Top 10.


Yes I agree . I see the main reason is lack of good leadership in the government. We live in a country where we have a sports minister with no background in sports. With the limited and half baked knowledge they will make the decision.the ppl below blindly follow the orders . It’s doesn’t matter how good the team is one bad leader is enough to destroy everything. Leadership matters.
Many don’t even knows who is state sports minister.