There is no better feeling in the world than seeing the national flag fly high with the national anthem being played in the background. As an athlete, a podium finish is all that one dreams for, as they dedicate their lives for the same. 

After years of toil, there are few who are able to reap in the success of their hard work. But to get to that stage, it is a never-ending struggle for the athletes.

What makes matters worse is that when competitions like the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games or the Olympics are underway, the supporters expect nothing but gold medals from them.

Also read: PM Narendra Modi congratulates athletes

While we can’t blame the ardent fans rooting for their country’s athletes and expecting medals in abundance, what is noteworthy is the fact that what do we do for these athletes when they are preparing for the big events?

Of course, they don't get funds the same way the Indian cricket team does. While so much is invested in cricket, it is imperative that other sportspersons are provided with basic amenities and proper infrastructure that helps them ace their sport.

With little improvements in the past few years, the results have been significant. Athletics, which hasn’t been India’s strongest suits, has yielded several medals in the 18th edition of the Asian Games in Indonesia.

Watch: Dutee Chand speaks to MyNation

Hima Das, who is the reigning Under-20 world champion, broke the 400m national record twice in two days and secured a silver medal by finishing the race in 50.79 seconds. Muhammed Anas Yahiya too bagged silver in the men’s event as he clocked 45.69 seconds.

Yahiya and Das along with Poovamma Raju and Arokia Rajiv created history by clocking 3.15.71 in the newly held event of 4x400m mixed relay that led to another silver medal in the tally.

Indian athletes Manjit Singh and Jinson Johnson also scripted history after winning the gold and silver respectively in the men’s 800m final as India’s last gold medal in this event was won by Charles Borromeo in the 1982 Games.

Later, Johnson returned to the track to win 1,500m gold. Also, India women won 4x400m relay gold on the last day of the athletics competition.

On the other hand, Asian Games debutant Dutee Chand clocked 11.32 seconds in the women’s 100m race. She secured silver as she lost the first spot by mere two seconds. It was a double delight for Dutee as she won silver in 200m too.

Also read: Indian table tennis team bags historic medal

In the previous edition of the event, India claimed 11 gold, 10 silver and 36 bronze. This year, India achieved its best-ever in Games history with 69 medals (15 gold, 24 silver, 30 bronze). The gold haul is joint highest, equaling the feat in the inaugural edition in 1951 in New Delhi.

The significant rise in the count of gold and silver medals highlights India’s improvement and the success for the same can be credited to widespread awareness and importance of other sports than cricket.

What has helped the athletes is the inception of domestic leagues for several sports such as kabaddi, badminton, squash and table tennis, among others. 

Inspired by the Indian Premier League (IPL), various sports have now gone on to conduct their respective leagues that have helped youngsters to showcase their talent and in the process made India a force to reckon with.

In the newly contested event of kurash, India’s Pincky Balhara and Malaprabha Jadhav won silver and bronze respectively.

Fouaad Mirza’s silver in the individual equestrian event was the first such medal for India in the event. The equestrian team comprising of Mirza, Ashish Malik, Jitender Singh and Rakesh Kumar also won silver in the team’s event which has paved the way for India’s success in various sports.

Muskan Kirar, Madhumita Kumari and Jyoti Surekha Vennam who comprised the women’s compound archery team, lost to the Koreans in the finals.

In their effort, they bagged silver and became the first Indian women’s team to do so in the event. With many such historic medals, Indian athletes have achieved the silver-lining despite all odds.

Featuring in the list of new accomplishments are India’s golden girls of badminton. Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu secured bronze and silver respectively in the women’s individual events.

While Sindhu became India’s first shuttler to secure a silver medal in this event, Sindhu’s performance in the Olympics and international events over the years has raised the expectations of many as she has become the blue-eyed girl of Indian badminton.

Owing to the success of our athletes in various competitions, the Indian spectators have new role models to look up to.

With whatever minor improvements that have taken place over the course of last few years, the results of our athletes have been terrific. We hope that it keeps getting better so that we can improve from silver to gold in the future games.