Should we be unpatriotic and blame the government for India’s sports people not winning gold medals at olympics. Is it possible that the government would be making the same mistake for say 5 years, 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, and 25 years 50 years or 60 years? Should neighbouring China which has recovered from that mistake be a role model ? If sports administrators of India do not have a sense of competition with sporting giants how can the common man of India who does not have a direct role in National decision-making process take responsibility ? When is the thirst of an Olympic gold medal going to be quenched? What is the nation waiting for?
How many more years should the government given a learning rope. The government of India has a structured sports ministry in place. It has and had popular people as sports ministers. Then what explains the lack of success. Will the success worshipping Indians be not happy if India wins Olympic gold medals at the forthcoming Beijing olympics ??
Lets see what other nations are doing which the sports ministry of India is not doing. Olympic champions start early in life, Our neighbour, part adversary and one way friend the great red communist china seems to know it…something which our home grown communists don’t believe in. For we haven’t seen them putting pressure on the prime Minster Mr Man Mohan Singh to bring home gold medals. The communist party of China has spotters whose mission is to spot “talent” The spotters are spread at party levels through out the China, at schools, clubs, villages, towns and just about everywhere. Once a talented child is spotted China offers total “control” of a child. The sports person becomes the national property. By national property we mean that everything, which is a priority for a citizen, becomes national responsibility. Food, Clothing, housing, education, and future. To simplify, the person with sports talent in china dosent need to worry about the things involving daily survival. They have only one task. To practise and go for the Gold.
Surely, China looking states like West Bengal or Kerala should have developed Olympic calibre sports persons. If rightwing and secular states of India don’t want to look to china they can have western models like USA to look to. For the sake of heaven don’t tell us that our nation doesn’t have “spotters”. Now lets pass this question to you… is the nation short of talent? The answer from undercurrent would be a decibel splitting NO. You would never imagine the talent which is idling on the many million streets of India, both rural and urban.
Then why is sports talent either staying indoors or spending energies in keeping the economic engine of India chugging…its simple. Parents in India would not send children to sports centres or encourage sports as a career,, because the government guarantees that the children would be mistreated and exploited including in some cases sexually. So talent prefers to stays indoors. And what happens if the urge of a sport takes over a talented individual and who pursues it at his own cost (As Corporate India sponsors only established stars and not aspiring sports people). The people end up in great debts. We have seen sports people of other disciplines working as coolies in railway stations and dying in poverty and misery. That effectively puts to a complete full stop to any aspiring motivations of a new sportsperson in India.
The government is still learning the art of valuing internal talent. And the Indian society that has been so deprived of success has latched on to the only thing that offers success on international scene that is cricket. This is not to say that all cricketers have been treated with respect. For the celebration tamasha post 20-world cup win, the BCCI said that 83-world team could have come on their own. So much for gratitude.
India does have an Olympic sports committee. Mr Suresh Kalmadi, demigod of Indian Olympic committe India, an able,rich shrewd survivor is considered to be one of the many “powerful” men who rule the sports world of India. Yes on paper the IOC has a structured existence though the website doesn’t function. (Check the official website of the Olympic committee of India).Instead the sports ministry and IOC spend their resources and time playing politics.
A recent Snippet: The demigod Mr kalmadi said that Money and Mr Mani (He was referring to Mr Mani shanker Iyer sports minister of India ) were responsible for India missing out on the common wealth games. Mr Mani was ruffled and arranged for himself a slot on Mr Karan Thaper’s the devil speaks and offered a threat to the consistently shaky UPA government. That threat bought stability to himself and his cabinet post remained secure. Mr Kalmadi on the other hand went out of his way to bring Grand Prix to India. It appears that he did so so that he too can boast of something in his defence as a sports leader. His voice was heard internationally as he was profusely thanking Formula One boss Mr .Bernie Ecclestone.The tone suggested that if Mr Bernie was in person, Mr kalmadi would have touched his feet in gratitude. To put it in fewer words it sounded slavish. BBC felt compelled to play the audio of the telephonic thanks of Mr Kalmadi on international channels. The anchor had a smirk of superiority when it was played. As the saga of politicians of India can fill up great libraries of highly productive work lets leave it to secular historians.
So what needs to be done…. It needs a will. A will on the part of the government to fulfill the aspirations of a nation. The aspiration to win a gold medal. The nation has talent. The best thing about the talent is that it springs from a reservoir of 1 billion people which has a huge youth segment.And it dosent stop there. That talent is contagious. All the government has to demonstrate that its sports people are taken care of and you will see the medals tricking in. It’s a youthful nation with aspirations energy and motivation. The Olympic fever has to be seeded. Once its seeded the nation will producing outstanding atheletes the same way it is now producing outstanding cricketers. We need someone who has a vision. A vision to see that the national anthem of India to be sung on the Olympic podium.
For the capitalistic politician of India he / she can still continue making money from this vision. The same way BCCI is making money out of cricket. The government is not idle. Its doing its job as effectively as it could but when you are going for an Olympic gold then you need more than being effective.
Bharathi the Tamil poet said this during the independence struggle, “when will the thirst of freedom be fulfilled.” That thirst has been quenched and we have been a free Nation since 60 years though there are many who are threatening our freedom in innovative ways. If we had a Sports Bharathi he would write, “when will the thirst of a Olympic gold medal be quenched?