It’s fascinating to think that what is now a solidly lower-middle income country with a population that is on the cusp of overtaking’s China’s has just two medals in the Olympics so far.
It’s a bit less surprising when one considers that the average Indian man might only be about as strong as the average Icelandic woman…
The other really interesting feature is how even within India a small proportion of states contribute almost all their medal winners. For instance, 30% of the Indian Olympic team comes from Haryana and Punjab, two states with 4% of India’s population.
Moreover, even from within those states, there are areas of strong concentration.
the first of assuredly very few Indian Olympic medals in Tokyo, silver in women's weightlifting, was by a Meitei from Manipur, who number <2 million and account for 0.13% of the country's population. India would do much better if they fielded nothing but Tibeto-Burmans pic.twitter.com/Z2ynIzqcKP
— Zolbar Sakusun (@ZolbarSakusun) July 25, 2021
Looking at the leaderboard, India is right below Mongolia (population: 3 million), which at three medals has one more than India despite a 500x lower population. All three of them are in judo. The Mongols also dominate sumo wrestling in Japan (126 million).