Since the 1984 Los Angeles Games, China has bagged a whopping 201 gold medals at the Olympics. This is a compelling tale, considering India has won just 9 gold medals – 8 by the Indian hockey team and just one individual medal by Abhinav Bindra.
What goes into the making of a champion? Are champions born, or are they trained to conquer the world? We look at how young Chinese athletes go through the rigours of training right from their childhood. Their dominance at the Olympics is not a bolt from the blue. A lot goes into it. For starters, China has 3,000 government-run sports schools, 20 major programs and numerous other smaller programs. There are state-of-the-art facilities and the best of coaching is available. Take a look at how China prepares its future athletes for the challenges that lie ahead of them.
This picture may seem inhuman but that’s exactly what happens at the Nanning Gymnasium, known to be one of the most ruthless places for young aspiring Olympic champions.
The pain on the face of the young child may hurt you. The girl’s gymnasium trainer standing on her legs is a deliberate training strategy to increase her endurance level.
Young children cry, suffer insufferable amounts of pain but despite that, they are never allowed to quit.
The girl on the extreme left is hanging from a bar and her legs are tied. Every sinew of her body is getting tested and physical limits are getting stretched.
This seven-year-old gymnast is undergoing an extremely strenuous physical activity.
Mei, a three-year-old gymnast said she wants to be a gymnastic champion. A three-year-old kid is normally busy exploring new things and enjoying life. At that age, it is unimaginable that a Chinese kid is talking about wanting to be a world champion.
According to Indian national badminton champion Aparna Popat,”The children enrolled in the badminton sports schools are made to train about 10 hrs a day – surely harder than anyone else. Some burn out, some get injured, some can’t keep up and the remaining minority of 2-5%, well, become the champions we all know.”
It is indeed scary to imagine how much weight an aspiring bodybuilder can lift. China has won 50 medals in weightlifting in Olympic history, the second best in the world.
Apart from badminton, China has totally dominated the world in table tennis. They are undisputed champions in this sport, and no country has come close to matching them in the sport.