Sunday, August 24, 2008

"I always knew he could do it"

"Just before he was boarding the plane, I met him and by the look in his eyes, I knew he would do it"...these would be the words of "experts" when on TV commenting on the performance of our Olympics heroes. When anyone succeeds on a global stage, everybody wants a piece of the cake.

Numerous IOA officials will now jump to the occasion and talk about how they had hand-picked Abhinav Bindra when he was young or saw the fire in Vijender Kumar's eyes and recommended him to some sports authority. News channels and websites will go even a step further and talk about what they had for breakfast before the medal-winning effort, talk about the first girl they kissed and whether they used their tongue, pick out photos from their family albums in which our beloved medallists would be wearing shorts and sporting half-grown moustaches, and even go to the Great Khali for his opinion on the same. Little known or outgrown celebs like Priyanka Kothari and Manisha Koirala (pardon me if any of them got their spellings changed after going to numerologists and realizing that their names add up to 9 which is an unlucky number) will try to cash in by saying: "I have a crush on Viju". Just formed bands like "The Street Rockers" (its a fictitious name - please do not try googling it) will come up with songs like "Olympics Conquered". Their school principals will talk about how they instill discipline in school from a young age and teach their students the value of sports and of all-round growth when in fact, they might not even be having a proper cricket cum football cum kho kho cum kabaddi cum "Stand outside in the sun for the whole day" field.

State governments will announce cash awards one after the other - "Madhya Pradesh government announces a cash prize of 5 lakhs for Sushil Kumar", stadiums will be renamed after them - "Patna Indoor Stadium to be renamed after Abhinav Bindra", free lifetime railway and air passes will be given to them, PhDs will be conferred on them (it might happen you never know), their coaches will be felicitated, their parents will be made members of some really prestigious societies, their uncles, aunts, grandparents, girlfriends, first cousins, dhobis, milkmen, pet dogs everyone will be honoured in one way or the other. Endless endorsements will follow: Insurance companies - "Having insurance made me forget all my worries and focus on my aim", soft drinks - "I had a drink just before the match which kept me refreshed throughout", biscuits - "It has all the necessary vitamins and minerals needed to become a true champion", mosquito coils - "It allowed me to have a good night's sleep before the big day", condoms - "I always play safe" etc etc.

I have nothing against the Olympics heroes - I respect them from the bottom of my heart for their glorious achievements. They make me feel really patriotic. They have brought honour and glory to the country and they should be given their dues for it. But my question is - why all of this only after they became heroes? Why did none of the state goverments put in so much money to build any kind of infrastructure for the sport which they so swear by now? Why did none of the IOA officials talk about Bindra's golden eye or Vijender's speed or Sushil Kumar's tiger prowess when they were embarking on their Olympic journey? A word of encouragement then would have meant a lot more than all the "I knew he could do it" lines now. All that said and done, the Olympic heroes with all the money and power in their hands now should try and build their sport - ask for better infrastructure, support budding youngsters and spread the sport. All in all, they should let the sport bask in their glory, not the state governments or IOA officials.

1 comment:

PUJA said...

Hmmm..To think...