The Tokyo Games are over and the Japanese people and government have heaved a sigh of relief that the spectacle passed without a major COVID-19 outbreak in the athletes’ village or other disasters.

Here in India, the celebrations of the country’s first gold medal in the men’s javelin throw — and its best-ever medal performance at a single Olympics — have not yet subsided. But how good, really, is our best?

A decade or so ago, many spoke of India and China in the same breath. The two countries were supposedly the new contenders for global eminence after centuries of Western ascendancy, the Oriental response to generations of Occidental economic success. Some even spoke of “Chindia,” as if they were joined at the hip in the international imagination.