I would not say that India has few achievements in elite sports. It's just that the country is traditionally strong in those sports that are very undeveloped and unpopular in Russia and most of Europe. For example, India has one of the strongest national teams in the world in cricket, which is considered the number 1 sport in the country. Also, the country occupies a leading position in field hockey, which is an Olympic sport. India has a good tennis academy, and Indian tennis players are very strong in doubles, being multiple winners of grand slams in various types of doubles. Of course, in traditionally popular sports such as football, hockey, basketball, India cannot yet boast of great results. At the same time, the country's top football league ranks 4th in average attendance (over 25,000), and an Indian representative also plays in the National Basketball Association (NBA).
I would venture to suggest that the reasons are as follows:
in this country, firstly, a huge number of people live below the poverty line, and poverty is not considered a vice there. We are not talking about sports in principle, and even more so about sports of the highest achievements.
Secondly, to this day - and this is not an exaggeration - there is caste there. In more developed cities, it may come to naught, but in the bulk it will not be possible to ignore it. It is a tradition with over 4,000 years of history. The system of social elevators there leaves much to be desired. Due to the caste nature, by the way, many do not even strive to jump above their position, tk. relatives and in general everyone else will not understand this, most likely. And they will condemn.
Thirdly, the body is the prison of the soul. The cult of the body has never been in favor there. Moreover, it is considered a colossal religious virtue to become a hermit and torture a mortal body in order to get out of the endless painful wheel of rebirth, especially since you may not be reborn from person to person, but become, as Vysotsky sang, a baobab, or even worse, an insatiable crocodile , to whom there is no salvation at all.
To be fair, I will say that at least in one sport the guys from India still know a lot about it. This is cricket. Thanks to the British, as they say)
This is due to the poverty of the population. With the opportunities presented by the state. Anyway, India has always been a colony, not a leading country, especially in the World of Sports.
But the most weighty argument for me is the lack of material opportunities.