The Indian Team is in Beijing and everyone expects a better performance from the team this time around. When a player prepares for a historic event such as the Olympics, which is held at the international level, he leaves no stone unturned to bring out his best. To participate in the Olympics is a dream of every athlete or player. Monika Devi, Indian weightlifter who was charged of doping a day before her scheduled departure to Beijing, is one such player and all her dreams are now shattered.
Monika pleaded her innocence but her voice was not heard. Her desperation showed as she even resorted to saying, “Shoot me in public if I am guilty.” The authorities, instead of investigating her case, called a press conference with Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Suresh Kalmadi going on record to say that the authorities had done an excellent job and saved India from the disgrace. I agree with Mr. Kalmadi, but it would have been better if he had waited for the final results. Now that Monika Devi is cleared of the dope test, will he go to the press and apologise to the weightlifter? Despite being cleared of the charges, Monika Devi will not be able to take part in Beijing Olympics.
As it is, the Indian record at the Olympics is very poor. There are numerous reasons for this like the lack of funds, infrastructure and facilities to the players. The policy makers allocate meager funds towards sports and blame the players’ inability to win medals. The attitude of IOA is wrong and their functioning has raised many questions.
BR Gulati, secretary, Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWF) said, “The dope tests conducted on her (Monika Devi) by the Sports Authority of India were not according to World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA’s) guidelines, and are therefore illegal.” The procedure that was followed was very shoddy. So, yet another edition of the blame game has begun. I can understand what Monica is going through, the entire state of affairs has left me vexed. All her hard work, dreams and enthusiasm has been reduced to zilch by the babus.
Monika Devi claimed that she is a victim of regionalism. According to her, the Sports Authority of India’s boss RK Naidu is from Andhra Pradesh and he favoured Shailaja Pujari who is also from Andhra Pradesh and her only competitor for the Beijing spot. Considering this, Manipur Olympic Association (MOA) decided not to participate in any national championship and the coming National Games, if Monika was not sent to Beijing as part of the Indian Olympic team. Devi’s suspension resulted in protests and violence in Manipur. Clearly, a detailed investigation must be done and the guilty should be punished at all costs.
Whatever the truth may be, the fact remains that yet another player has become the victim of politics in sports.