Olympic success does not come easily, it comes with a price. Intense training up to 8 hours a day starting from a tender age of 3 to 4, away from parents in aboarding school. These schools can be both private and government based and are known to nurture Olympic gold medalists. These schools are not cheap, rather they cost 8 times more than regular schools, the first year’s fee is around 9000 euros (73000 rupees).
Many parents tend to send their children to these schools to achieve the wealth and glory which comes along Olympic success.
Children undergoing training like adult athletes starting from age even before they learn to read and write is just plain cruel. In Chinese culture, it is totally fine for mentors to punish students using physical means like beating them with a stick. This is deemed as child abuse in most of the western world. Separating children from parents at this young age affects their mental upbringing as one needs their parents at this stage of life, where the child is developing their moral and social values.
Most students enrolled in this boarding school, have not reached the maturity where they can decide what they want to do in life. Rather this decision is made by the parents. What if the kid does not want to become an athlete, maybe he wants to become a doctor. On the other hand, there are some children who genuinely want to follow this path. Out of 100 students enrolled only 3 or 5 children make it to the higher academy, the success rate is even lower in higher stages. This could jeopardize the future of children who fail to make it in the Olympics, as their skills in other fields are not well developed.
Most students are under pressure of performing and fulfilling their family’s hope and ambitions, as many children come from poor backgrounds, succeeding in the Olympics is the only way out of poverty. Exposing children to such high stress at such a young age can have a negative effect in the future. As the Chinese say if the kids do not go through the struggle, they will be spoiled, hence parents are fine with sending kids to these schools.
Winning an Olympic medal is something every athlete dreams about, it is a great task with which comes great wealth, glory and honor. To gain something you have to sacrifice something while putting in time and hard work without the guarantee of it ever paying off. But is it worth devoting your childhood, rotting away in a Boarding school? The days, which we all know were the best of our lives.