After a wait of four long years, the torch was lit and thus began the Olympic Games! Olympic Games are the most prestigious games for a sportsperson to participate in and to win a medal. The summer and Winter Games alternate by occurring every four years but two years apart. Their creation was inspired by the ancient Olympic Games, which were held in Olympia, Greece, from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD.
This year, India had the largest number of athletes in its contingent accounting to 118 players. Know how many players actually won a medal? Two. Isn’t it shocking that in a county consisting of 1.25 billion people, only two players achieved a medal? No, I am not blaming the players. In fact, it is only because of the efforts of the players themselves that they secured the medals. Why, you ask? Well, India is the brilliant country where apparently posting pictures about the Olympic Games destination is more important than actually being involved in the welfare of the players. Didn’t get it? Well, for the ministers of Haryana, the Olympic Games were a once in a life time opportunity to have a state funded trip to Rio. Anil Vij, the sports minister of Haryana led a 9 member team to Brazil asking funds from the government, so that they could be on the site to encourage players from Haryana.
Fun fact: The ministers from Haryana were spotted enjoying the Rio beaches and the city instead of attending the game. Guess, the players didn’t get encouraged enough because of their absence huh? Now that we have started with pointing out the problems of the sports officials of India, let’s continue. Because there’s a list coming up.
- The Medical care
The Indian contingent appointed two official medical staffers, Pawandeep Singh and Col R S Negi, who both were radiologists by profession and had no prior experience in sports medicine. Guess it’s about the same. The two radiologists are coincidentally related to Indian Olympics Association’s (IOA) key members. According to reports, O P Jaisha’s coach had to get in to scuffle with the doctors to demand medical attention after she fainted during the marathon. Most of the athletes also complained that they prescribes “combiflam” for every health related issue. Nothing like a pain killer huh?
- The Sport Minister’s support
The sports minister of India, Vijay Goel, who was accompanying Indian athletes to show his support and monitor requests of athletes, ended up almost losing his Olympics accreditation. The minister’s ‘entourage’ without having accreditation to certain locations behaved in ‘aggressive’ and ‘rude’ manner when they were stopped by the officials to enter. The India sports minister received official warning from Olympics Organizing Committee. Almost like a medal, no?
- Wasteful doctors
Dipa Karmakar, one of India’s hope, was refused to have her long time physio therapist travel with her as the Sports Authority of India considered it to be “a waste of money and resources”. Well how dare she even ask? The money was especially saved for a Rio tour for the ministers!
- The peanuts party
On 15th August, which is celebrated as Independence Day in India, the Indian Embassy in Rio hosted a ‘grand reception’ for the athletes that are representing the country, organized by the youth and sports affairs ministry. But little did they know that they will be served with peanuts by the embassy. The players missed their dinner at the Games Village to attend the reception. Ah! Too much money spent on the minister’s tour. And peanuts are tasty, no?
No it’s not just about corrupt ministers, we have a lot of them already. Kind of gotten used to it too. It’s about the expectations that are there, and when those expectations aren’t met, the players are bullied, trolled and shamed publicly. So, before criticizing the sportsperson for not winning a gold medal, THINK! The fact that they got selected for the Olympics itself is an achievement considering the sports infrastructure in India. And if you still believe that the players deserve the criticism and the name calling, well, chin up and provide them the appropriate facilities, encourage them, but first, treat them with the dignity they deserve. That’s where the sportsmanship comes in.