Administration Vs Sportsmen

Some months back, a certain Monica Devi missed out on the Olympics because the Indian Olympic Association withdrew her name after she tested positive during a drugs test. When she asked for another test, it was found that she was, in fact, innocent, but by then it was too late for the Manipuri to participate at a competition that just about every sportsman dreams of.

Rewind a little more, and we find that our country’s top shooters are facing an acute shortage of ammunition, because the National Rifle Association of India has not supplied them with any. This isn’t anything new for the likes of Gagan Narang. In fact, if anything, they would be surprised if they arrived at their range and found that they had sufficient ammo for the next few days practice.

Then, of course, was the dissolution of the Indian Hockey Federation after it was found out that the Secretary was selling spots on the team. Years of such practice resulted in the obvious: India failing to qualify for the Olympics and thus not even standing a chance of getting a medal in our “national” sport.

When MC Mary Kom won her fourth consecutive World Amateur Boxing Championship, her felicitation ceremony could have been mistaken by many to be an optional seminar for college students on… well, let’s just say the most boring topic that could exist. School teams that won any big tournament would have had bigger receptions than what she got!

And, finally, it was Badminton star Saina Nehwal’s turn last week to face the hurdles when it comes to being a sportsman (except ofcourse cricketers) in India . Saina, who had just recently broken in the Top 10 of the World Rankings (something the likes of Sania Mirza can never even dream of achieving) almost missed out on participating at the Yonex Sunrise World Super Series Masters Final in Malaysia because she hadn’t received her passport in time from the regional passport authorities of Hyderabad. Only when The Times of India intervened on behalf of the teen did she receive the documents from the Chief Passport Officer in New Delhi. It took him just a few hours on Saturday, which is usually an off day.

What these stories show is that if you’re not a cricketer, don’t expect to get the recognition you deserve. All these incidents could have been easily avoided, but it seems avoiding making mistakes is something that our country’s system isn’t built for. These events are a lesson for every Indian: If you want to be a sportsman, make sure to get the media on your side as soon as possible, like Saina did. Give up on expecting the system to improve anywhere in the near future. That would only be possible if it is rebuilt from scratch, without corrupt officials being a part of the new process. If you want to pray for that miracle, go ahead, but God would rather help you in winning accolades than making that happen.
Raveesh Bhalla

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