Saturday, December 16, 2006
Rich men, poor cousins
Koneru Humpy :Chess Gold Pictured below .
All those people who exhibit traumatic reactions watching our guys getting out in cricket matches, have suddenly gone into slow motion action-replay , given whats happening in the first test today. There is an entire population of Sachin-disciples, age-no-bar, who look accusatively at folks, and defend Sachin's getting out in 50's, (in the 1st test vs SA) now that everyone else , in both teams ,is barely getting beyond 10's,20's and some, even single digits.
One doesnt hear a squeak from our esteeemed parliamentarians either; i suppose, throats become sore due to excess shouting, sometimes, about Greg Chapell, and sometimes about Ganguly. I dont remember hearing anything about cricekting ability, in either the election posters, or speeches , and I certainly did NOT elect my representative , so he could waste time on cricket, given that he could spend it more productively, supporting the 33% reservation for women Bill.
Should India win this test, telegrams and calls will go forth from folks in Delhi, planes will be diverted to Delhi, and parliamentarians who straddle sport and legislation with consummate ease will appear benignly smiling in photographs when the team poses with the PM.
And then there is this stunning silence post the Asian Games in Doha.
Our athletes run and jump their hearts out, and get medals. One of our runners, ran with a burn injury (scalding hot soup spilt during the previous day dinner) on her thigh. Koneru Humpy and two others get medals in Chess. The Womens Hockey team gets a medal, showing the Men's team how its done. Anju Bobby George leaps her best for a medal. Our Archers and shooters show that they are among the best medal winners. Even our rowers, all psyched up , are in contention for a medal. And who can forget Tennis ? Sania very much amongst the precious metal medals, and Mahesh and Leander pick up their doubles gold, and never mind that the lustre may appear slightly diminished by the petulant cribbing and fighting amongst the two. Harshavardhan Singh Rathore shows what tough army disciplined practice can produce in terms of medals.
Jaspal Rana shoots for 2 golds, and is nominated and is in contention for the Best Athlete of the Games award.
So what do the powers that be do? Our Parliamentarians have their fingers on their lips. The Sports officials, in a not so surprising display of INATTENTION to detail, inform Jaspal Rana that he IS declared the best athlete of the games; and start getting organised to rush him back to Doha. Only to find out that a Korean swimmer has beaten him to it. And never mind the mental trauma of the shooter.
Aisa hota hai.
(Kya hai, our sports persons are so used to careless handling of equipment, visa delays, arbitrary refusal of permissions, disgusting travel, boarding and lodging arrangements, and they should really be grovellingly grateful that they got to go anywhere at all.)
Our elected representatives discuss Greg Chapell in parliament; the Speaker actively participates. Please. The MP's are elected by us to REPRESENT us. I expect the MP from my region to take cognisance of those athletes that hail from his constituency, and try his best to help them when they are in need. I did not vote for my MP , so he can participate in a totally unqualified manner in deciding about coaches in sports.
What we need is a "sports constituency", just like they have a "graduates constituency". We need eminent senior sportspersons to be nominated/elected to such parliamentary posts. Just like the government has GoM (group of ministers) that work in a group for a specific project, we need to have these sports persons have a group that actively decides on allocation of sports resources.
How come we never hear about Anjali Bhagwat being nominated to Rajya Sabha? Has anyone ever thought that Prakash Padukone could be an asset in sports related decisions at the highest level? What is the rationale behind going ga-ga appointing actors and actresses to the Raya Sabha ?
Until then , be prepared to see a spectacle at the next Games, where the Indian contingent arrives with more officials than athletes; IOU's and quid-pro-quids are the order of the day ; I have often wondered at the proliferance of middle aged pot bellied people marching in, tugging their sports coats with one hand, and waving at the stadium with the other. They let some wellknown athlete function as the flag bearer; shows their benevolence , you know.
And forget about the runners who travel 4 ours everyday through supercrowded trains to train, swimmers who attend meets, get back to their hostels, and find that they need to pretend that the cold hard floor is really a comfortable bed at night; hockey players who end up drinking polluted infected water at their camps in our leading stadiums, as some guy who was supposed to repair the water tank, simply pretended to do so, and was paid for it on a priority basis; and never mind whose priority. Kabaddi players access first aid boxes , grandly labelled, only to realise that its not in their interest to get hurt; medicines are bought, but they never reach the first aid box.
Hmm. And the Indian Cricket team is really upset, because in the recent home series, against , I forget who, they were put up at a hotel with lesser stars than the visiting team hotel.......