By Ian Bhullar
Jul. 27 – The nations of the world converge on Marshgate Lane, Stratford, today to begin the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. Between the two rising Asian powers of China and India, there can be little doubt which country’s team will emerge with more glittering medallions. Admittedly enjoying the benefit of competing on their home turf, China garnered a total of 100 medals in Beijing 2008, of which 51 were gold. By contrast, India took home 3.
While China pours resources into creating teams across the board that can demonstrate its world power status, India has long lost its head start in the one sport in which it previously excelled: field hockey. Between 1928 and 1980 India’s field hockey team came in first place eight times. Since then, India did not receive a gold medal until 2008. They will look to repeat this success at this year’s London Olympic Games.
There is one place where the China-India rivalry will assuredly rear its head: the Men’s 10 meter Air Rifle competition. Athens 2004 gold medalist Zhu Qinan, of East China’s Zhejiang Province, was driven to tears on the podium in 2008 as he lost out to Uttarakhand’s Abhinav Bindra.
Already this year, Zhu has once again come second to Bindra in the Doha Asian Championships in shooting. Meanwhile, the rivalry has intensified due to remarks made off the shooting range.
In his book, called A Shot at History, Bindra has said that he “doesn’t like Chinese.”
Both may falter, however, as upstart Niccolo Campriani of Italy, who placed 12th in Beijing, but since won the World Shooting Championship in 2010, also eyes the top spot on the podium.
Nevertheless, this looks like one to watch as India seeks to compete with China beyond the geopolitical and economic realm.