To answer such a loaded question would certainly be to invite much trouble. Though we all know that India and Indians are not perfect, yet any reference to the contrary will trigger some commotion and set off the fire button on some political party or powerful backbone of the country and the like.
Oh, Wait! I think I have just listed the first reason which might have a lot to do with how Indian sportspersons fare at the Olympics. After all, this is a nation, which both believes and yet does not believe in the concept sports for life. Internal politics and fussy, corrupted political parties of India play a major role in the outcome. The very first problem with the system is that; most of the times the sportspersons are chosen more because of their connection and less because of their merit.
That said, sometimes there is no choice but to send people on merit since they might have already proved their mettle.
Where is the Dough?
Yes friends, this is a big contributing factor as to why Indian sportspersons cannot perform too well. India might really be developing in some ways but are still are unable to provide in terms of gear and infrastructure. If you have been following the Olympics for the last few years and are adept at joining the dots and the trails, you will see that it all comes back to the subject of papers and numbers.
Case in point would be how poorly India is faring in field hockey even this year, a trend that was started some 40 years prior to this. After all the patterns, were changed to synthetic turf instead of the natural turf a while ago and where is really the money for such new developments?
Second up is that no matter what most people say and how much the media may exaggerate, India and Indian parents do not encourage sports. The practice around the whole nation is that one person will have to juggle everything in order to make a living. Though there is some truth in that belief, it simply appalls me to think, how can one person be expected to do so much? Some people do not have a mind to study but they will rarely be encouraged to get involved in sports and take it up full time or professionally.
Other Complementary Problems
India is undoubtedly one nation, which loves to worship people who have made something or somebody out of himself or herself. However, the problem with human beings is that there is a tendency to sometimes let their heads float in the air; all the attention simply reaches extremes.
Even in the ongoing Olympics of 2012, there was a certain controversy regarding two tennis players while playing doubles. Though I do not know how accurate media reports were, but if there is any truth in the incident, it shows how unprofessional Indian sportspersons can really be.
However, experts have also come up with a new set of problems. This problem is somewhat related to the health issues. We all know that India is a country where pretty much half of the population goes to bed, mostly on the footpath, on an empty stomach.
Even if some people are better off than these extremes, which does not necessarily mean that a child is getting proper nutrition throughout the period of growth and of course, that implies lack of proper the basic physical structure that is needed.
Of course, India is also bogged down a lot by traditions and stupid social norms, which are heavily imposed on girls and sometimes, even on boys. There is neither any definitive reason now any plausible explanation!