Veteran India batsman Gautam Gambhir on Monday (September 3) said that cricketers in India have always enjoyed a god-like status because of the immense popularity of this game. However, he acknowledged that there are some real heroes in other sports as well by pointing out the achievements of Indian athletes at the Asian Games 2018.
"It has been fabulous, absolutely fascinating. Look at Swapna Barman's story. This is what creates heroes. I have always been a believer that cricketers are put on a pedestal because cricket is the most popular sport in the country. But there are some absolute, real heroes in other sports as well. Look at what our athletes have done, look at what your badminton players have done, look at what your shooters have done. They have worked equally hard. There are many more heroes (in non-cricket sports) as compared to what you create in cricket in India. These are the actual heroes,” Gambhir said in an exclusive interview with TOI.
India ended the 2018 Asian Games with the most number of medals in the Asiads ever. The Indian athletes bagged 69 medals in total. India finished at eighth position on the medals tally.
“They (non-cricket sports athletes) have gone through so much financially, from the facilities point of view. Personally is you ask me, look at what some of the athletes, have achieved, coming from humble backgrounds. They are your actual heroes. I am sure things will get better for them,” Gambhir said.
“But people would have never recognised them had they not won the medals, but from now on I hope things get better and some of our athletes don't have to struggle so much. Personally if you ask me they are much bigger achievers than what cricketers achieve on the cricket field. I know we are doing the same thing for our country, but look at the amount of facilities and money cricketers get as compared to what these athletes get,” he concluded.
Out of 69 medals, India won 15 gold, 24 silver and 30 bronze. Although India bagged more medals than Taiwan (66) and Iran (59), they are listed above India on the basis of more gold medals. While Taiwan won 17 gold, Iran secured 19.