Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby Prashant » Wed Aug 24, 2016 4:14 pm

Atithee wrote:Coaching is overrated. What can a marathon runner be coached about? What can any runner be coached about? When to speed, when to conserve, and when to push?


Hmm. In track events, Olympics & World Championships are the one place where coaching actually does matter. All other meets, pretty much without exception, are run with "rabbits", i.e. designated runners that set the right pace for the field & then drop back. Typically the top runners in the field get to tell the rabbits what pace to run. For many top runners, Olympics/WC are the ONLY races in their career run without rabbits & thus they need massive help with tactics. It is why races like 1,500M in the Olympics often seem weirdly slow at the start. I can't speak to marathon but in any of the longer distance runs, coaching & tactics are absolutely vital.

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby jayakris » Wed Aug 24, 2016 4:37 pm

^^^ This brought up something I had thought about for a while. Is there a programmable rabbit system out there? Either a robot-vehicle that can be set to go at a certain running profile or a virtual reality system like a treadmill with a rabbit projected on screen? Otherwise, India should make one and use it to train our long distance runners. It would be very useful to gradually improve their performance with proper speed-settings of the rabbit, one would think. Technically, it's not a big deal to make a golf cart go as per a specified speed profile with somebody steering it, actually.

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby sameerph » Wed Aug 24, 2016 4:53 pm

jayakris wrote: What we produced this time at Olympics is pretty much what we could have expected from this generation of athletes. With a bit of luck, we could have managed a medal or two more this time, and with a bit of bad luck, we could have ended with 4 or 5 last time too. We pretty much stayed at the level of last Olympics, and perhaps went back a tad bit.


Agreed. There were 3 fourth place finished this time ( Abhinav, RB-SM and Deepa) while there was only 1 last time ( Joydeep). Last time Saina's medal was indeed a bit lucky with her opponent retiring after winning the first game. The shooting medals are always a chance once the shooters reach top 8. Top 8 performances in shooting were 4 this time as against 3 last time. But, we got lucky with 2 medals last time while ended up with zero this time.

Overall, it could so easily been 4 medals against 5 last time and then the difference would not have looked that large. Overall, performances may be only slightly lower than London (as brought by top 8 performance list). Of course, we expected it to be much higher this time building on the momentum generated from 6 medals last time which did not happen.

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby Prashant » Wed Aug 24, 2016 6:00 pm

jayakris wrote:Is there a programmable rabbit system out there? Either a robot-vehicle that can be set to go at a certain running profile or a virtual reality system like a treadmill with a rabbit projected on screen?


Absolutely there is. I can't speak to the robot vehicle scenario, but both VR/treadmill scenario and wearable technology exist for this, and are very inexpensive. In the world of cycling it is pretty standard to use these even for hobbyists, let alone pro level. I have no idea if the India track coaches are using it or not.

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby kujo » Wed Aug 24, 2016 10:26 pm

Prashant wrote:
Atithee wrote:Coaching is overrated. What can a marathon runner be coached about? What can any runner be coached about? When to speed, when to conserve, and when to push?


Hmm. In track events, Olympics & World Championships are the one place where coaching actually does matter. All other meets, pretty much without exception, are run with "rabbits", i.e. designated runners that set the right pace for the field & then drop back. Typically the top runners in the field get to tell the rabbits what pace to run. For many top runners, Olympics/WC are the ONLY races in their career run without rabbits & thus they need massive help with tactics. It is why races like 1,500M in the Olympics often seem weirdly slow at the start. I can't speak to marathon but in any of the longer distance runs, coaching & tactics are absolutely vital.


Not just weirdly slow - it was insanely slow, as part of the tactics from the US runner Matthew Centrowitz who ended up with Gold in 1500m Rio Olympics. His winning time of 3:50 was the slowest in decades and almost 15 seconds slower than his fourth-place finish in London 2012 (3:35.17).

First lap of 400 metres in 66.83 secs, second lap was even slower at 69.76 secs, last lap of 50.6 secs!!

No rabbits, and he controlled the pace of the entire group to eventually emerge a winner!!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/o ... story.html

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby Sin Hombre » Thu Aug 25, 2016 12:55 am

Our problem is a talent pool which is not deep enough and focus on sports and athletes who have no chance, which is why I keep repeating that I am happy to help out in whatever way possible if there was a program to focus on increasing our talent pool on a "winnable" sport like rowing. Increase the number of serious rowers in the country to 10000 and the medals will flow (no pun).

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby ankit1407 » Thu Aug 25, 2016 5:12 am

Shooting federation plans clean-up, sets sights on centralised system

interesting take
Most controversial, perhaps, could be the NRAI's questioning of the role of private sponsorship organisations and calling them a contributory cause for the shooting failure. The committee has been asked to examine the multiple "layers" of preparation brought about by the effect of these organisations with regard to contracting some shooters and offering them funds to train and compete overseas apart from working with mental trainers and short-term coaches.


so, while most of us probably feel the roles of OGQ , JSW etc have helped Indians sports the federation probably thinks otherwise OR may be feel threatened that if the same model continues sooner or later they might have to leave their chair which of course they do not want to...

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby jayakris » Thu Aug 25, 2016 6:14 am

True that there will inevitably be some push back from the federations, as other entities start taking over our sports. Some push and pull is always good though.

But I like how the NRAI chief Raninder Singh talks.
NRAI chief says ‘blame me’ after Indian shooters’ dismal show at Rio 2016 Olympics
Shooting chief Raninder says India must learn lessons fast

I am sure the guy is a politician (he once contested for a Loksabha seat and lost, after all), but he is young and says some of the things that I never hear from our federation bosses. An exaomple from the article -
"We did our best. My athletes are not at fault. If anyone is to take the blame it’s me.

I like how he says "my athletes". Some may disagree and say it is probably elitist, but to me it shows how he feels responsibility for his job...
An example from the interview -
"There needs to be no recrimination - they gave it their best shot, they are despondent and dejected because they haven't succeeded. We have to give them a hug, put the confidence back in their spines and get them back out there in the front line."

Have you ever heard any federation boss talk like that? "Hug them?" Huh?

I also like the panel they have set up to look into the Rio issues, and NRAI's willingness to let somebody like Abhinav Bindra head it (and for considering Manisha Malhotra in it). While Raninder Singh seems to be not too thrilled with other entities running shooters, Manisha is one who clearly has been on the other side, as the CEO of Mittal hampions Trust (which funded Abhinav Bindra).

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby sameerph » Thu Aug 25, 2016 7:31 am

Yes, that is a good start made by NRAI.

Shooting was one sport where they had a clear cut policy which was laid down well in advance for the selection of shooters for the quota places which we earned for Rio. It was based on the average scores at a few international events and a few selection trials. So, it was not just based on trial event. There could be some debate on that in the sense that the selection was made a few months in advance and performances in world cups this year was not taken into account which resulted in couple of in-form shooters who had won medals in world cups not being selected ( Sanjeev Rajput, Pooja Ghatkar). But, at least they had a laid down procedure and it was not totally arbitrary.

Also I am quite sure that overall quality of our shooting squad this time was much better than at London and therefore, I had said that we can even win 3 medals in shooting this time. But, the nature of the sport is such that it is very difficult to say what will happen on a day. 20 year old Chinese shooter Haoran Yang is considered a phenom and is a multiple gold medallist in Air rifle at world cups and was a overwhelming favourite for the 10M air rife. But, here he failed to qualify for finals.

Unfortunately, for us everyone faltered when it mattered this time while last time 2 of them had delivered.

Overall, though I am not too concerned for shooting. Talent has not gone away and we can easily go back to 2-3 medals in next Olympics without even hoping that some new talent will surface. ( unlike boxing and mens wrestling where we really need some fresh talent to rise to give us medals next time.).

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby genius » Thu Aug 25, 2016 11:33 am

jayakris wrote:^^^ This brought up something I had thought about for a while. Is there a programmable rabbit system out there? Either a robot-vehicle that can be set to go at a certain running profile or a virtual reality system like a treadmill with a rabbit projected on screen? Otherwise, India should make one and use it to train our long distance runners. .


Middle distance and long distance is dominated by the Kalenjin tribe of kenya who trounce other Kenyan athletes as well .

"There are 17 American men in history who have run under 2:10 in the marathon," Epstein says. "There were 32 Kalenjin who did it in October of 2011."

Ethiopian champions mainly come from the arsi region in the same great rift valley across the border.

It does not like anyone is going to break them any time soon at the moment. find a high altitude tribe of our own!

first there has to be a proper program to detect those with high endurance and a plan to produce a pool of decent coaches before any talk of infra or training .

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby genius » Thu Aug 25, 2016 12:21 pm

The main failure of the govt/federation IMO is the failure to tap talent even in the bigger cities.

right now do you see any superstars from the rural areas even in cricket? The batting superstars are still from the metros.

It certainly cannot be too hard trying to promote the best coaching they can find and better infra into private schools and academies In
certain cities?

A strong school systems and league system in the metros and a few other cities like chandigarh can be a start of a long term plan to produce world class players in a wider area.

Presence of decent coaches and good infra would give people more confidence of a career in a sport and a strong competition can invite audience to finance sports.

first step should be to create strong inter school competitions and promote this competition.

Right now I don't feel this is happening.

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby genius » Thu Aug 25, 2016 12:32 pm

gbelday wrote:
jayakris wrote:
jaydeep wrote:Olympic Gold Quest posted nice post on facebook about performance of their athletes.

I am not expecting much from the government or any other federation in terms of port mortem. I do think that this time around, the government sanctioned enough funds for training.

.


True. only to win scrapes like 4 medals.

For realizing our eventual potential(top 3 in the medals table), right now the sports budget has to be 10000 crores and above every year and increase from there on.instead of 1500 crores(around 300-400 crore for development, around 300-400 crore to SAI) in recent years.

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby Atithee » Thu Aug 25, 2016 1:32 pm

May I ask: why is it so important to win Olympic medals? Aren't there better places to invest this magnitude of money and efforts? Physical activity needs to be promoted by all means but why this obsession with winning Olympic medals?

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby PKBasu » Thu Aug 25, 2016 2:09 pm

Sin Hombre wrote:Our problem is a talent pool which is not deep enough and focus on sports and athletes who have no chance, which is why I keep repeating that I am happy to help out in whatever way possible if there was a program to focus on increasing our talent pool on a "winnable" sport like rowing. Increase the number of serious rowers in the country to 10000 and the medals will flow (no pun).


Interesting that you think rowing is a sport that is winnable. The most natural sportsman in my class at boarding school in Darjeeling (he was the best footballer, hockey player, athlete -- except triple jump, where I beat him by 1cm :-) , and a few of the throws -- and cricketer in my batch) found when he went to Calcutta that he could only really make the university side in hockey (and cricket would require a long struggle). So apart from playing inter-university hockey, he decided to take up rowing -- and won a National games silver the following year! Unfortunately, the year he might have gone for the Asiad, he ended up going to IIM Ahmedabad instead, and his rowing career came to an abrupt end.

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby jayakris » Thu Aug 25, 2016 2:16 pm

Atithee wrote:May I ask: why is it so important to win Olympic medals? Aren't there better places to invest this magnitude of money and efforts? Physical activity needs to be promoted by all means but why this obsession with winning Olympic medals?

I guess I am somewhat with Atithee on this. Well, to be correct, I disagree a bit and am fine with a bit more (or a lot more) money being spent by the government, but only because I think they would otherwise only waste the money and will not necessarily find "better places to invest". Where I agree with Atithee is that our government does have other things to do! I think we need to have federations and sports management people become competitive in a free-market style and generate funds. Indian people have tons of money and all of it is going to cricket only because cricket has been marketed as something in which we are successful in the world (though an utter lie that is). Nonetheless, it has been marketed very well, and money flows into cricket. Indians' money and support need to come out into other sports, but that won't happen as long as the federations and sports managers keep waiting for the pittance from the government. I know it isn't easy, but we do have the Abhinavs, Leanders, Sushils, Sindhus, Sakshis, and Dipas who have captured national attention but have not been used for organized marketing by Federations to raise funds from the people. And there are a lot of Indians who know that cricket is not all there is, who are however finding no reason to support anything else.

I have a suggestion (not sure if it has been discussed in the past). Why not have the government give money (a lot more, maybe) as long-term loans to federations and sports management firms? They start paying back 5 to 10 years later, and develop financially sound plans to improve sports. In due course of time, say 20 years later, we see the government becoming much less of a player and not spending money on sports that they can spend elsewhere. Does it make sense? Has any nation supported sports development with a large-scale loan program?


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