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Tuesday, August 19


Oh, I think its time I've to be more optimistic about India on the global sport arena.

Seeing what this young man, Abhinav Bindra has done on the world's biggest stage, I feel (and hope) India is going to feature more prominently & consistently on the Olympic medal list. First of all whole hearted congrats to Abhinav! Words cant express the gratitude to you, the lone man standing among the Indian ruins of Beijing 2008.

Watching this video has been overwhelmingly emotional..Honestly, I never felt such an overflowing sense of patriotism, pride and euphoria, anytime in the 27 years of my existence, as seeing the Tricolour rising against the background of the National Anthem.

As always the sports-lovers of the country believe that this is going to change the fortunes of the cruelly neglected, mismanaged and corrupt sports arena in India. Dirty politics, chicanery, inefficiency and all sorts of synonyms you could think of, plague the respective sports regulatory bodies. We have illustrations all around us, and sports (except for cricket) take the backstage in Indian administrator's books.

A glimpse at the success story of Abhinav Bindra is a testimonial. He took up shooting seriously as a competition event in his early childhood and had the support of his affluent family. Abhinav also had the luxury of practicing in his personal air-conditioned shooting range at his Chandigarh home. This facility was fitted with all world class equipments including imported rifles, computer analytic system and other essential amenities.

Shooting is always a very expensive sport to pursue, which only the rich and affluent could afford. Abhinav and Gagan Narang have financially strong family backgrounds whereas Rajyavardhan Rathore is a high ranking Army personal. But what about those events which requires broader support and grooming from grassroot levels?

The plight of football, hockey and other physical sports events highlight the point that something is seriously wrong somewhere in India. And we all know what this 'something' and 'somewhere' is...The miserable state of our National sport, Hockey is a classic illustration. India last won the Gold in 1980, and from there its been a steady down slide.. And now it has hit the trough with a crash-bang, seeing an Olympics Hockey list sans India! A new low for the sports lovers...

The Hockey debacle has led to one of the major purification of the ruling body with the super-cop turned sports administrator KPS Gill and his footlickers shown the door, ending his 14 years of misrule. The next pest in firing line must be the Indian Olympic Association(IOA) President Mr. Suresh Kalmadi, who've been at the helm since 1996. The latest parasitic infestation of Sports Governing bodies by politicians is of BCCI by the useless Sarad Pawar, who doesn't even know how to hold a cricket bat.

This political interference is not the only cause of the Indian debacles on World stages. The ones in charge seems least bothered about the complete lack of Infrastructure at community levels. How do you unearth and harness talents if you don't have the necessary framework to mould it?

The sad state of the G. V. Raja Sports School in Trivandrum explains it all. The school, dedicated to sports development, doesn't even have a clay track for its athletes(dreaming of a Synthetic track is like going to Mars). The long jump pit has more gravels than sand and a swimming pool exists only as drawings.

International Stadium, Cochin pic courtesy Stillwater

The existing stadiums in the state are more often used for Film Award functions, dog shows and consumer exhibitions. The so-called International Stadium in Cochin only hosts Cricket matches every other year. A Swimming Pool Complex of 'International' standards is being built at Pirappincode for the last 8 still doesn't have even a drop of water inside. The University Stadium in my neighbourhood in Trivandrum looks better like the Serengeti plains during summer...brown and bushy...Oh, lately they've built a Synthetic track at Maharaja's ground..thats a biiiiiiig achievement. ;)

I've genuine doubts as to the job description of the Sports Ministry and its Minister. One main job of the minister seems to be giving out statements like "50 lakhs to promote Weightlifting in Kerala"( after Malleswari bronze in Sydney 2000), "Football to be rejuvenated"(after Santhosh Trophy win in 2003-04) and "Tennis clubs to be formed across the state"(when Sania Mirza came here for some Jewellery opening). The latest gimmick is about "a shooting complex in Thodupuzha" just after the Bindra Gold at Beijing...

Is there no end to this farce?

India will be second to none in the Global sports stage if adequate money and willpower is instilled into attracting and grooming the raw talents in the nation's heartlands. But with pests like Kalmadia and clueless administrators like sports Minister M. S. Gill reigning, the light appears far. A touch more effort from the administrators would've seen boxers like Akhil Kumar stepping up on the Olympic podium to glorify the nation.

Akhil, who had to choose between his food and boxing gloves, is a reflection to the state of affairs of our sportsmen.

How long will a person be able to keep the passion in him against the fire in his stomach?

Which parent will be allowing his child to pursue a career in Sports, risking the kids life and a chance to live well?

We've enough and more examples of sportsmen who struggled for a livelihood just because they became professional sportsmen... Vijayan, Pappachan, Satyan...They got nothing other than empty promises and broken careers. How long will we go on with one Cricket and self-built successes like Abhinav?

PS: If you wish to relay your personal greetings to Abhinav Bindra, log on to his blog . A really good role model for the youth...educated, humble, self-controlled, sportsman, businessman and familyman! May be like what Raymonds have been searching for all these years...the complete man.

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