Sunday, August 24, 2008

Shame! India

And another Olympics has come to an end. Predictably, India can return with memories of brilliant performances by athletes from other countries. And be proud of the record three medals it won. Three precious medals for a population of a billion people. Let us weep for them for a minute.

A country with a similar population has ended up with a record number of gold medals. China has won more gold medals than any other country in the history of the Olympics. And more than half the medals they won are gold. Another first. One athlete has won more gold medals than the total number of medals that India has won in the last fifty two years. Shame!

You may protest. After all, India is a poor country. We don't have enough money to spend on promoting athletics or sports. Bullshit. Sorry. There cannot be a milder response. Look at the medals won by the other countries. Is Ethiopia a wealthier country? And Kenya? Ethiopia won FOUR gold, one silver and two bronze, seven in all. Better than India. And Kenya got FIVE gold, five silver and four bronze, total fourteen. More than three times what India won. And tiny Jamaica won SIX gold, three silver and two bronze. We have gone out of the Olympics in hockey, a game that used to win our only medal once.

"Ah, just some games. How does that matter? We are becoming the world's top economy soon. We are a power to reckon with in software, in science and technology." Is that what you think? Sorry. I strongly disagree. World's top economy with the country's sixty percent or so struggling for three square meals a day? A software power through doing some routine work for other countries? How much real development work do we do? Isn't what we do just repetitive, boring work? What challenge is there for our best brains? Won't our entire IT industry collapse if China, for instance, builds up the English skills of their people?

The point is that it is simply not a question of some games or sports. It is a question about how well, how effectively, we do things. We have been waiting and waiting for our athletes, our sportspersons, to become world class. This country of one billion people have been waiting for more than half a century. And they are seeing only deterioration in performance. Yes, we won a record number of medals this year. A record number of three medals. I would see it as just chance. I can't see that as the result of a planned programme to promote sports and games. If it really is so, I would still say "Shame!". Say that more vigorously. How can we be so absolutely incapable of doing anything well?

We need to start asking this question. Because our sports and games infrastructure is spending our hard-earned money. The money the poor Indians have paid as taxes. And we need an answer. The authorities have to answer, answer the questions raised aloud by the people who have given the money. We have a right to an answer. And not just any wishy washy answer. The establishment, beware. The people are fed up with your self-serving incompetent performance.


Unknown said...

dear sir,i read ur is very nice...shall i ask one query?..y didnt u participate?? anyone can simply blame our people..but no one can do the things...

Sasi said...

Dear friend,
Thanks for your comment. Hope you have never complained about the food you got, however bad it was. And hope you are very happy with the performance of India in every sector. Yes, we can be proud about a thousand things, provided you are satisfied with it. I am not. I don't understand why our atheletes and sportspersons perform so poorly when even small, evey tiny, countries out-perform us. I don't understand what our sports infrastructure is doing. I don't understand where all the money is going. As a citizen of the country, I have a right to demand answers from the people in charge. Incidentally, I hope you are not one of the officials in charge of our sports. If you are, I am sorry, I am totally unhappy with the way things are being managed. And, incidentally, I am not going to ask you how much you have contributed to the sports in the country, because I understand that it is not possible for everyone to contribute in every sphere. That is why we have a separate department for sports, another for Science and Technology, and so on. And, perhaps, you might have noticed that I did not criticise the athletes and other sports persons. If you did not, please read my blog once more.


അങ്കിള്‍ said...

Dear Sasi,

As soon as we heard of winning a gold medal in shooting, our sports minister (kerala) announced that 2 acres of land will be set up immidiately for the shooting enthusiasts in Kerala. What more encouragement do the sports fraternity need!! in Kerala. Prija Sasidharan, a long distance runner from Kerala qualified for Olympic Participation, still does not have electricity in her home despite repeated requests. This is how we encourage sports.

Unknown said...

Yes. And once someone wins, we shower him/her with money--crores of rupees. We seem to be very good in putting fertilizer on the fruit. Remember how our sports minister was crying that the Government of India did not permit him to go to Beijing to watch the Olympics? I wonder for what purpose he wanted to go. We give importance to officials and Ministers. Unfortunately, Olympics medals are not given based on official status.

Joseph Pulikotil said...


Very interesting and thought provoking post!

I hope the concerned persons will read this and take some remedial steps immediately.

Best wishes!

ഉപ്പായി || UppaYi said...
and a guy is on the top of this for past 12 yrs (3 Olympics).

President: (i) Indian Olympic Association since 1996; (ii) Asian Athletics Association since 2000; and (iii) Athletics Federation of India since 1987; Sports and Clubs:

I am just wondering how he manages to stay on top even our Goverment is changing.