An Olympic Dope Saga

A bout of consistent Bad news seems to have hit the Indian Sports community as yet another player has failed the Dope test. In an internal test carried by Sports Authority of India (SAI) in the last week of June, Monica Devi tested positive for an anabolic salt. However, she maintains that she is innocent.

She has been hysterically and desperately trying to inform anyone who would listen to her that she has been framed and that she would like the report of the test to be handed over to her. Meanwhile, SAI Executive Director (Teams) R K Naidu has been very stoic, and has informed the press that the report will be handed to the Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWF) who can decide the manner in which they wish to disseminate the information to the player. Many people seem to be applauding Naidu for having maintained such a calm demeanor amidst such allegations. However, I would like to remind them that Mr. Naidu is in a position where he can afford to be so stoic. Even after this scandal dies down, he will retain his job. However, Devi will be losing out on an event which any athlete lives his/her life for – the Olympics. The fact that she will not be able to participate in the coveted Beijing Olympics is bound to have her extremely dejected, not to mention traumatized.

This surely has cast a pall over the Indian contingent in Beijing who already must be a thoroughly dejected lot. Since time immemorial now, they have been aware that their chances of winning a medal in the Olympics are as high as the chances of pigs flying. To add to this, their very own Chief of India’s Olympic Association, Suresh Kalmadi let them know how much faith he had in them by saying that winning a medal would be a “miracle”. And now, with the news of the withdrawal of Monica Devi, their spirits would further dampen. According to Thaindian News, they do not want a replacement. “There is no need to get another lifter. It is already embarrassing enough before the Games and since there is no chance of a medal, what is the point in raking up the issue again,” said an official on condition of anonymity.

Monica Devi may or may not have actually taken drugs. The report may or may not have been framed. However, there is a larger issue at stake. Whatever said and done, it cannot be denied that our players are not being able to utilize their potential. The foundation of Indian Sports has been decaying due to political apathy and their short term goals of looking after their vested interests. The players are not being given enough respect and money. Lack of opportunity, respect and sickening awareness of their stunted growth seems to be driving them to desperate measures. The path of taking illegal drugs seems to be the only one available to them to be at par with the international players. Therefore, while the act of taking drugs should be condemned, the players themselves should not be damned because more often than not, they are subconsciously forced to do that!

Shravya Jain

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