The other day I noticed that my 26 year old son and most of his peers were taller and better built than my generation of urban Indians. And we were taller than their grand parents (our parents.)
As access to nutrition is improving for a large number of children and mothers, the population of healthy youngsters who are closer to their genetic height potential is increasing rapidly in India.
If (let’s say) 1 or 2 percent of the young people were as tall as they should be in our generation 25 years ago, in today’s India, it could be 4 percent or higher.
This means that the population that has the physical potential to compete and participate at the highest level of sports and athletics was half a million 25 years ago, it is possibly 2 million today.
So, as a sporting nation, going by the numbers of youngsters who would be a relevant population for high level sports, 25 years ago we were possibly the size of a small country like Albania and today we are probably the size of Ireland.
But the good news is that this is changing fast.
Within a decade or so, we will be much larger. By 2025, we could be almost as large as Israel and by 2035, as large as a Canada or Australia.
In parallel, the percentage of these youngsters with access to good sports facilities and coaching is increasing too.
Let’s expect that by 2035, India will be winning 3-5 times the number of medals it currently wins in the olympics.
It will still be way below our potential as a country.
To accelerate this, we need to ensure that more of our mothers and children get adequate nutrition.