IOA’s suspension: Corrupt officials and bodies paralyzing sports in our country

Posted: December 10, 2012 by The CouchExpert in Opinion, Others
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Abhijeet Kharki

I believe that sports instills a belief in a person, it makes them confident, irrespective of whether they are playing it or watching it. People don’t play sports just because it is fun. Ask any athlete, most of them hate the physical sacrifice behind it. But they can’t imagine their life without it. It is a part of them: the love-hate relationship. It is what they live for – the practices, parties, cheers, long bus rides, invitationals, countless pairs of  shoes, water, Gatorade, and coaches they might hate but appreciate. They live for the way it feels when they beat the other team, and knowing those two extra sprints they ran in practice were worth it.

December 2012 might not be the end of the world as it was earlier predicted but it did start with the end of the hopes and dreams of the thousands of Indian athletes, who had dreamed of being a part of the greatest, the oldest and the most celebrated event in sports – Olympics – with the suspension of the Indian Olympic Association by the International Olympic Committee.

More shame was to follow with the International Boxing Association suspending the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation saying in a statement that it had learned of “possible manipulation” in a recent election held by the Indian group, following which India’s Ministry of Sports also “de-recognized” the Archery Association of India. This came as a major embarrassment for the second most populous country in the world. Until now the question that popped up in peoples’ mind was why does a nation with a population of 1.2 billion ends up with a few bronze and silver medals every four years? Now new questions have surfaced and everyone knows the root cause of this predicament.

“The International Olympic Committee on Tuesday suspended the Indian Olympic Association for chronic violations of the international Olympic Charter, creating one of the most embarrassing episodes in Indian sports history,” Gardiner Harris wrote in The New York Times.

Our only individual Gold medal winner in our entire history, Abhinav Bindra, wrote “The role of sports administrators is extremely important in the life of an athlete and it is agonising to see such people coming back. It makes my blood boil. How do you expect me to go and respect them? The athlete is absolutely the last person on their mind. They don’t exist for them. As the two IOA officials try to convince the IOC not to suspend the national Olympic committee, I would ask the world body to see things from the perspective of the athletes. They are the main stakeholders. No one else except the athletes will be affected, while the administrators will wash their hands off the issue. The IOC must try and get an understanding of Indian sport from their point of view and not just from people with vested interests.”

Bindra's recommendations to IOA

Bindra’s recommendations to IOA

We as Indians always choose to ignore and turn our backs to the one virus that has been eating away our country in slow sordid manner. Our nation has always managed to surface above all the controversies and questions just because its own citizens did not bother raising them. The shameful decision that was taken by the International Olympic Committee cannot be ignored. Not now, when we know that the only reason is the corruption and the disorganized political structure of our country that will eventually be the end of this country as a whole. And for what? For whom?

Abhay Singh Chautala, a politician from the Indian National Lok Dal Party, is the man at the center of the controversy. During elections held on Sept. 23, 2011, Abhishek Motaria, a politician from Rajasthan, replaced Mr. Chautala as president of the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation. According to a statement made by the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation, on the same day, Mr. Chautala was named chairman of the federation – a post that was created just before the election, through an amendment to the body’s constitution.

It is quite evident that all we are trying to do is please people. We always have been a people pleasing country. Try relating to the spirits of those thousands of sportsmen and the way they would be affected by this decision: years of training and hard work will go down the drain. The endless dreams and the ordeal they went through physically and mentally will be for nothing. All this because of the few men who put their ego ahead of their country, not to forget the responsibilities that they swore to take care of.

This event was like a silent nuclear holocaust, the effects of which we will witness in time to come. If no step is taken to put a stop to what is happening, then it can be predicted that this incident will be a start of series of similar happening which will eventually paralyze the whole nation and we would just sit and watch it getting torn apart from inside.

All this while the thousands of sportsmen and sports women across the country put their body and soul through punishment for years in order to find their peace, happiness and eventually their moment of glory. And for the many who have given the best years of their lives for a single skill and be told to give up in their twenties and thirties by corrupt officials and parent bodies. Yet they dream. They live and long for camaraderie with their team, they live for the countless songs they sing in their head while training all those hours. They live for the competition, they live for the friends, the practices, the memories, the pain, it is who they are.

If only the bodies understood them and their sacrifices as much as we do…

Abhijeet tweets here.

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