Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

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Atithee
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Re: Sports and Performance Enhancing Drugs (Doping)

Postby Atithee » Thu Aug 25, 2016 2:50 pm

Jay, thanks for the agreement-disagreement. I still want to know why is it critical that we win Olympic medals? What's wrong with just winning asiad medals? As a civil engineer, could you give me an estimate of what an interstate highway (ala golden quadrilateral) cost? Or to fix the sewer/drainage system in Mumbai? This will help me put the amounts being mentioned in perspective. Thanks.

P.S. Oops! Wrong thread. Please move it to the right one for continuity. Sorry.

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby genius » Thu Aug 25, 2016 3:25 pm

cricket is usually a top 4 sport and has especially captured the imagination of the subcontinent and in the summer time it is big in australia.

It will be difficult for other sports to get the same amount of attention and money...football and tennis have potential but our players are not competitive enough at the moment to set the pulse raising.

for really big money, only sports like cricket, football, tennis and basket ball have the potential.

The Olympic sports are mostly prominent once every four years .Though athletics has its share of niche success .

At the local level, strong competitions can be advertised and promoted.there will certainly be excitement for locals to see their sons and daughters competing on screen.

Some money yes..but the kind of money you see in cricket, no.

Govt funding will be crucial for many of the sports as proved elsewhere.Especially when you are a developing power, you need state backed plans.

its good to see a few academies like gopichand do a lot of damage in badminton.

but it may not be the same story across the board

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby RohitG » Thu Aug 25, 2016 4:07 pm

Atithee, it's the hype cycle IMO. Rest of the world is going gaga and with media, social media and the internet doing their part of sensationalizing stuff, we all turn our attention there. I can extend your argument to Asiads and multi-sporting events, why is it really important? Of course it looks useless when you compare competitive sport to sewage pipe issues and national highways. Where do we start and where do we stop? Do we really need to compete internationally in sport when farmers commit suicide in our country? At one hand we want government to spend more in sport, on the other hand we want them to stay out of it, we get angry when Piers Morgan and Shobhaa De tweet, but essentially we say the same thing in a more succinct manner.. I feel this goes more into the debate of socialism. Why is there a need of this and that when we can do this and that? Why spend money here when you can spend money there.. The cycle continues, it's all about perspective and levels. You may stop at Asiads and shift focus to highways. Someone else in rural India may say, why even go to Asiads, use that money to build more schools and hospitals in my village?

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby prasen9 » Thu Aug 25, 2016 4:15 pm

I had asked Prof. Amartya Sen what he thinks produces the most bang for the buck during a round-table meeting. In essence, where should we invest first and get greatest returns? He said girl's education. While some on this forum perhaps do not agree with his thinking, I think that is very good advice. I think economic development will be a rising tide that raises all boats including sporting boats.

While resource allocation may be a debated issue, we can do things that do not cost money but actually save money (wrt public health). Get all our secondary education boards have a subject called "sports" that will be graded and added to a student's marks at the end of 10th and 12th grade. Get the schools impart mandatory physical training education. The gains will be lifelong. Admittedly, the cost will be passed onto the schools, but, adding a handful of teachers to schools will actually generate jobs and be money well spent.

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby kujo » Thu Aug 25, 2016 4:30 pm

prasen9 wrote:I had asked Prof. Amartya Sen what he thinks produces the most bang for the buck during a round-table meeting. In essence, where should we invest first and get greatest returns? He said girl's education. While some on this forum perhaps do not agree with his thinking, I think that is very good advice. I think economic development will be a rising tide that raises all boats including sporting boats.

absolutely agree that the rising tide of economic development will raise all boats...

BTW, how bad is the girls education in India? overall education level needs to be improved, is a fact. but are gender gaps that big?

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby prasen9 » Thu Aug 25, 2016 4:56 pm

kujo wrote:BTW, how bad is the girls education in India? overall education level needs to be improved, is a fact. but are gender gaps that big?
Pretty darn bad. See here: Countries by Literacy Rate

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Re: Sports and Performance Enhancing Drugs (Doping)

Postby jayakris » Thu Aug 25, 2016 5:04 pm

Atithee wrote:As a civil engineer, could you give me an estimate of what an interstate highway (ala golden quadrilateral) cost? Or to fix the sewer/drainage system in Mumbai? This will help me put the amounts being mentioned in perspective. Thanks.

The number that I've always had in mind was 10 crore per km, for the quadrilateral. That is Rs 600 billion for 6000 km (Rs 100 million, or 10 crore, or $2 million, per km) when it was planned. I think we only spent about 3/4th of it (so about Rs 75 million, or $1.5 million per km), as it was completed well under budget about 4 years ago.

So, with the reported number on what the sports budget should be (Rs 10000 crores, or Rs 100000 million), we could make say 1000 km of national highways (of 1930s world quality) that we have, up to the quadrilateral highway quality (probably 1975 world quality. By world quality, I mean the highways in much of western Europe and in say Korea). If we need current world standard expressways, then not spending on such extremely high sports budget would build us say 400 km a year. India's 2016 budget had 1600 crores for sports, which you can say could help improve say 150km of a highway. Not that outlandish an expense on sports, for sure (the reported "required" spending of 6 times that budget, is probably a bit outlandish)

But then again, we have about 50,000 km of national highways that badly need to be brought up to quadrilateral standards. The task is too big, so spending on that instead of on sports doesn't really speed up the highway improvement activity all that much.

If we were to hold an Asiad (which we can probably do with a $2 billion expense, say 120 billion Rs), we could instead make around 1000 km of our national highway to decent standards, or say 500 km into a world quality expressway. But then again, we wasted an incredible $4 billion (well, people stole money, basically) on that commonwealth games, when we could have spent it on say 2000 km of quadrilateral-quality highways.

Up to you, to decide what is reasonable as expenditure in sports. My opinion is that our current sports spending is certainly not too much. Maybe doubling it won't seriously affect the rest of our national agenda either.

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby prasen9 » Thu Aug 25, 2016 5:53 pm

:Offtopic: If we don't have the money, can we not build toll roads that can pay for itself?

[Maybe the mods can move these to Sports Expenditures or some other thread in Economic Development?]

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby gbelday » Thu Aug 25, 2016 6:37 pm

Niru's article on HT today.

She touched upon many aspects that have been discussed in this forum. The milkman reference (for spotting talent in cycling) is a bit funny though. Don't milkmen deliver milk on scooters/motorcycles these days? :)

http://m.hindustantimes.com/olympics/im ... ThpEO.html

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby jayakris » Thu Aug 25, 2016 7:15 pm

prasen9 wrote::Offtopic: If we don't have the money, can we not build toll roads that can pay for itself?

That is what we've been doing. India has had a massive boom in toll road construction over the last 6 or 7 years (well, it started much earlier but really accelerated in recent years). I believe we have gone up from less than 10% private investment in road construction to about 30% in just the last 8 years or so. We've been doing quite well. I also read that Modi has taken it seriously. I believe we have set a target for next year of 50% increase (!!) in lenth of road improvements (we met the target of 10,000 km improvements in 2015-16 and have set 15,000 km as the target for the new financial year. The numbers involved are massive, which is why I said we don't need to cut the sports budget to speed up road construction!

Back to toll roads, internationally, they have not been as much of a money-maker as initially projected some 2-3 decades ago, but investors seem to be somewhat positive about it in India, still. I believe a retirement plan out of Canada invests in 4 different highways in India!! Funny, but such things are happening. We're on a decent track, and things will keep improving over the next couple of decades to where roads would get much better.

But India really needs to do something about toll booth delays which are of massive economic cost (I read that one would waste 3 hours at toll booths during a 22 hour drive from Delhi to Mumbai, which is too much). Electronic tag systems are taking off, I believe, and that would help. Then there is a question of people having to pay tolls for poorly maintained toll roads. But PILs against that have won in court, which is a good thing. Political agitation against tolls, spurred by our drive-by-shooting politicians is another problem. But anyway, too much investment is there in toll roads right now, and they are not going away anytime soon.

EDIT: Here is an article from today, on a Spanish firm winning a contract for 75 km of highways being improved and doubled in number of lanes. About $1.7 million per km, it seems. So the cost numbers I gave above were reasonable.

[If we discuss further, I will move this to the economic development thread]

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby prasen9 » Thu Aug 25, 2016 7:39 pm

If people do not like the toll roads, they can take the other roads. It is all right to demand quality for money paid since this is sort of a monopoly. But, the government should just enforce standards and stop price gouging and let the private sector run things and get the tolls. Arguing that roads should be free is asinine when we do not have the money for inlays.

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby genius » Thu Aug 25, 2016 8:29 pm

Economy is the real weakness. however its not as if paltry spending on sports has promoted growth elsewhere.


If you want better growth, then one can demand more innovative and competitive ways to grow markets both internal and external..accompanied by social development like high primary school enrollment.

The most striking differences between east asian sucess and ours has been a perennial inability to be a manufacturing power and success in primary school percentage has been erratic.

Parents across the successful parts of east asia have shown more determination to get education to their children....
Manufacturing has provided the mass of jobs

curtailing sports budget is negative,no substance approach that achieves nothing.The solution for our woes in other areas are elsewhere.

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby arjun2761 » Fri Aug 26, 2016 12:08 am

PKBasu wrote:
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.


Rowing is definitely not a sport for the masses, so the depth isn't as great as compared to say soccer or running. So, concentrated investment may have a better chance of getting results.

Pros for India: (1) Don't need a ton of lower body athleticism which many Indians often lack. My 14 year old recently made the US youth nationals where he was one of the youngest competitors and he isn't a great athlete otherwise. (2) Relatively expensive sport, so a smaller pool compete in the developed nations and very few in other less developed countries. A good quality 4 or 8 person racing shell is in the US$ 50-100K range and you need access to a good body of water (such as a lake) with a dock and boathouse etc. which are manageable costs.

Cons: (1) Requires significant strength and size. Contrary to misconception of many, 70% of the power of rowers comes from their legs and cores and most Indians aren't particularly strong there (or for that matter in their upper bodies). Most US collegiate rowers in the open category are also in the 6'2" to 6'5" range which is also quite tall for many Indians. (2) Requires very diligent training regime. My 14 year old rows for 2 hours every day with 1 hour of land training. In addition, he drags me to the gym every weekend where he works with free weights. At 5'11", he was also the smallest member of his varsity quad by some distance although the others were 2-3 years older. Swimmers often have similar training regimes often done early in the morning. (3) Typical US rowers start at 14 (entering high school) and are pretty accomplished rowers by the time they get to college. So, we would be later starters unless we can identify talent at the high school age.

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby jayakris » Fri Aug 26, 2016 12:31 am

It's a pity that Kerala with all the water bodies and long-standing tradition of boat races, hasn't really produced any rowers. It is certainly a place where something can be done, but leave it to Kerala people, and nothing will happen....

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Re: Post-mortem on the Rio Olympics disaster

Postby Sin Hombre » Fri Aug 26, 2016 12:47 am

If there was a rep function on here, I would rep arjun's post. Excellent post with the knowledge gained from his son's experience.

I agree with all of it. I'll now mention why I am big on rowing.

We have 20000 physically well endowed (at least by Indian standards) 17-year olds doing the NDA exam every year. How hard is it to find 20 out of those who have the right physiology for rowing? Similar is the case with army and police trials though the candidates are slightly older.


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