Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ordinary throws, extraordinary significance....

Nadzeya Ostapchuk, Natalia Mikhnevich and Yanina Karolchyk-Pravalinskayа are a bit wary these days. Just in case you think I have won the Eastern European Spelling Bee, and am practicing, let me hasten and clarify that these are the gold, Silver and bronze medal holders in the Olympic Shot Put Event.

It appears that throwing stuff around has existed as a valid sporting activity. During the siege of Troy, the soldiers had stone throwing competitions when they got fed up of hiding in huge horses and killing when outside. (Homer mentions that in his Epic).

The 16th century British King Henry the VIII, was known for his competence and championship in Weight and Hammer throwing at his Court; the Weight stuff is believable looking at his size, and I suppose the Hammer could have been the probable cause of a few of his wives dying out of sheer fright .

Sometime in the 17th century, British soldiers had cannonball flinging competitions.

Naturally, it would then be centuries and years before an Independent India came into existence, and another 63 years before an environmentally sound shot put event could be displayed to the world. I mean we have all seen hefty folks, male and female, wearing what look like one shouldered baba suits and boots, lumbering on to the scene, desperately failing at doing a dainty pirouette, and then mightily flinging an iron ball around, as people with tapes run helter skelter for cover.

But this, is what the Shot Put is all about .

Socially Relevant Green Shot Put, with 33% reservation for women athletes, particularly fearless types belonging to the ruling party and NOT favouring one shouldered baba suits

This has happened in Bihar, where clay pottery items are a , currently dying traditional village industry. They have a wonderful custom of drinking their tea in Kulhads or small oven fired clay cups , and then throwing the cups in a stirring display of "Dust thou art, to dust returnest" and they save water, washing labor, soap, everything.

It is only fitting , that in a state classified as a BIMARU state, agonizingly the leading member of the actual acronym (B= BIHAR) and BIMARU = SICK, a lady legislator in a white cotton saree and red blouse (purity, sacrifice but not peace and communists), expressed her outrage with the ruling state party, by actually picking up hefty clay planters with plants, outside the Assembly premises, whirled them in the wrong direction is an astonishing display of strength, and flung them at the cameramen representing the Fourth Estate, who dispersed to save their knees and lenses.

Notice, the choice of material for the shot. She selected recyclable green material. Yes, she destroyed several plants. But legislators in Bihar probably get huge gardens, cows and fodder free (I may be in error), and since we hear no reaction from the High Command it is probably safe to assume, that these resources are a dime a dozen, and that they are not worried.

In the meanwhile , inside legislative chamber, the unimaginative male legislators, were using energy intensive expensive material as shots, and throwing around chairs, tables, microphones, at the speaker and the opposition. It was instructive to see, several folks being carried out , four Martials to one person, sitting position, feet stiffly out in front, astonishingly similar to the legs of the tables and chairs they had just broken and flung. Probably suggestive of a knowledge deficit where male legislators are concerned.

But the organizing committee of the impending Commonwealth Games, now has something else to excite them. Promising athletes. Promising events to introduce. And all they have to do is have lots of potted plants around. Jyoti Singh , the enterprising shot put lady, belongs to the same party as the CWG Chairman.

But we need to have science on our side.

A joint USOC-USATF study (High Performance Plan or HPP) of the shot put at
Louisiana State University says,

Much research has been performed on the shot put. Typically these studies examined release velocity, release angle and release height. Unfortunately, these three parameters paint an unclear picture. They indicate what needs to happen but not what it takes to make it happen.
HPP research has indicated that for humans the release parameters are optimized when the angle of release is between 31° and 36°. This is considerably lower than the mathematically "optimal" range of 40° to 43° for elite throwers determined by using the projectile motion equation.

While it is impractical for coaches and athletes to aim for exact release angles, it is important to know that lower release angles are actually advantageous as long as they still permit elite-level throws-and that the mathematically optimal release angles will more than likely result in decreased throwing distances.

The throws by this legislator, Jyoti Singh, are clearly inspired Elite level throws.

Bihar Bhushan , anyone ?


  1. Interesting, intriguing post as always! Good to see it here today, I've missed you. Hope all is well. Have a great weekend!


  2. I was shocked when I saw the picture in the morning. You have presented a lighter side. I think she should immediately be made to resign and train for the CWG games, where she can put her real skills to better use.

  3. you're tagged

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Nice interpretation of the shocking events! :)

    Isn't it interesting that it's usually the members of the party which is not in power in the particular state that resorts to such tactics? Such sports are forgotten once they become part of the govt...

  6. It is disgusting on one hand .. but what do one expect on the other hand? I guess, she is in the wrong place..

  7. Ha, ha...nice way to put it. Wish all of them could channel their energy and resources and put it to better use, instead of flinging pots outside the assembly!

  8. Giggle! I suppose a woman throwing stuff makes a more sensational picture than all the numerous boring males tossing around stuff. Notice how all media was very careful to do gender-insensitive reporting pointing at how a WOMAN MLA was behaving so badly. Of course, aggression is acceptable in males, the poor things. :)

  9. What an extraordinary thing to do, violence and restraint at the same time. What made her so angry ?

  10. @ Starry - I agree.

    @ Suranga - Actually this is really sad. Who would believe this is the land of Gandhi!

    I guess we have got so used to acts of slapping, throwing chairs, bringing bundles of money etc now we can have a special "Who's more violent - WMV Inter-state Competition" :|

    A special section can be reserved for Green Violence :)

    And the award for all these aggressive examples these guys set should be the Traditional Indian, Green and Environment Friendly Blackening of their Faces. :\

    Top places should receive shoes garlands and the one who wins should have be couriered shoes from all over India - like Pink Chaddi Campaign, we should have 'Shoe Sending Campaigns'.

    Really pathetic. :(

  11. I learn from you

    Thank you again for the poem you wrote about me and sent to me.

    Thinking of you in your land far away and wishing you well.

  12. Downright stupidity and imagine we are ruled by them. I am lost and we need to raise a banner of revolt.

  13. What a wonderfully amusing post on such a grim state of affairs of state!

  14. Better than the shoe-shotput at Bush and his ilk, no?