India’s last Olympic gold-medal winner, Abhinav Bindra, recently pointed to UK’s spending on athletes at the Rio Olympics, emphasising the money needed to convert performance into medals. An IndiaSpend analysis of spending on Olympics in particular reveals India spends roughly a third to a fourth of the money spent by the UK, which won 67 medals, compared to India’s two — and central funding to sports federations is falling. The UK spends money on fewer athletes compares to India, where spending is diffused among numerous federations and athletes.
The UK has 18 million people aged between 15 and 35, while India has more than 400 million youth in that age group. The original story in the Guardian, a UK newspaper, calculated a £5.5 million ($7 million) investment per medal by UK Sport, a government body that funds and manages Olympic sport. The UK, in general, spends $1.5 billion (Rs 9,000 crore) on sports infrastructure and training through an annual sports budget, while UK Sport spent about $350 million on Olympics preparation over four years (2013-2017).