With spectacular fire works and technological prowess at the opening ceremony of the Olympics earlier this month, and then exemplary performance at the games, Beijing has set the bar high. So how have other Asian countries reacted to the high standards set by China? What do they feel about their own countries’ performances? Rey Azizi spoke with young people in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh about their views of the Games.
Boxer Vijender Kumar of India, right, won a bronze medal in the middleweight category
The recent opening ceremony at the Beijing Olympics dazzled the world and won over fans from across the globe. Amir, a young Pakistani, was deeply touched: “It was great! I was so amazed -- I really praise the people who [caused] such a thing to happen. The most important and interesting point is that it was flawless. There was no fault, no error, it was really amazing.”
In India, which is constantly compared with its rival superpower China, there was also great enthusiasm for the Games but also some pessimism that India would never reach the same heights.
Nidhi, an Indian journalist, said that although there is great potential in her country it is not always exploited to the full: “The thing is that in India there are masses but they [the authorities ]are not promoting them in a particular direction. The masses are not given guidance”
Indians have been following the Games in Beijing avidly even though their country has not won that many medals. One reason for the lack of Indian success in Beijing perhaps is that cricket -- India’s most popular sport and where the Indian team excels internationally -- is not an Olympic discipline.
To the regret of Shoeb in neighhbouring Bangladesh: “Right now, the Olympic committee is thinking about cricket. Football is there but not cricket. Cricket is the number one game in Bangladesh as well as in India”
In spite of the region’s fascination with cricket, other sporting disciplines are now slowly creeping into the limelight. One case in point is rifle shooting, in which India’s Abhinav Bindra won the gold medal, doing his country proud.
Vivek is one of his biggest fans but he also likes other sports: “Now people are coming to know what shooting is and they are coming to know what boxing is. We have boxers at an international level and they are doing well. That creates hope in people’s minds that we can do better in other games”
China’s friend Pakistan also focuses too much on cricket, says Amir, who shares Nidhi’s view about the need to concentrate on other sports: “What I really feel is that there is a growing need to introduce new sports and disciplines in Pakistan but unfortunately, I don’t see it happening not after the Olympics and not even after the next Olympics”The next Olympics take place in London in 2012. Beijing, with its spectacular opening ceremony and countless medals, has set the bar extremely high. The question now is whether London will be able to follow up.