Tell A Story – a column where riveting South Asian stories are presented like never before through unique video storytelling.
It was a historical haul for India at Tokyo Olympics 2020 with seven medals – 1 gold, 2 silver, and 4 bronze. Accolades have flooded the Olympians but the question to ponder is whether it arrived at the right time or not. Their strenuous journey is not just limited to an Olympic win, it goes way beyond. A journey of hard work and perseverance, triumphing over every obstacle that crossed their path to reach the podium of the Olympics.
It’s interesting to note that amongst Indian Olympians, the majority are from tier 2, tier 3, or remote cities — hailing from places that do not even have a proper training playground. Gold Medalist Neeraj Chopra had to travel 15 km from home to access a stadium. Meanwhile, Silver Medalist Mirabai Chanu took lifts in loading rice trucks to reach her training ground 25 km away. Even amidst a lack of facilities and proper amenities, it was their strong passion that reaped historical milestones.
Unfortunately, sports still remain supplementary to academics in India. We have parents chasing their kids towards attaining 90 percent on exams while brushing aside their sports dreams, claiming the future to be dicey. Playing a sport is encouraged as just a hobby and people hesitate in pursuing it as their dream. Not just the mindset, even the number of sports schools and well-equipped training centers are only a handful.
In fact, it’s the like-minded sports enthusiasts and various collectives that support and encourage their counterparts in their sports journey. Speaking to Tell-A-Story, Jungle Crows Foundation sheds light on the hurdles faced by athletes in vulnerable living conditions. Located in the northern part of Kolkata, this collective features various athletics programs and facilitates scholarships and employment opportunities for budding sports stars.
This video story reveals the intriguing narrative of this amazing sports collective while uncovering the unusual Olympic spirit of Indian athletes.
Suchithra Pillai comes with over 15 years of experience in the field of journalism, exploring and writing about people, issues, and community stories for many leading media publications in India and the United States.