Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Commonwealth Games only promises us shame

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

“Canada deeply concerned about Commonwealth village”, “Foot overbridge near main Games stadium collapses, 23 hurt”, and “Jersey express doubts over Delhi”. These are some of the headlines doing circles of the Internet less than a month before the biggest sporting event India has ever hosted kicks off. The pseudo patriots will say Canada is showing typical ‘white men’s attitude’, bridge collapse is just an accident and Jersey? Never heard of a country by that name! But all these headlines do really tell a story.

It has been four years since the last Commonwealth Games ended in Sydney and seven years since India beat Jamaica in its bid to host the games in the process becoming the first Asian country to do so. But going by the negative publicity that the games is receiving many would think India would have been better off not hosting the games if it cannot match up to the international standards. The final touches being still given to the venues shows the (un)professionalism we showed in our preparedness.

Commonwealth Games 2010 was meant to be more than a sporting event for India at least in the minds of the government and all the sporting bodies in India. China signalled its dominance to the world by putting up a splendid show during the Beijing Olympics, 2008. It not only won the most number of medals but gave a glimpse of its future to the world. Sporting events of this magnitude are not merely limited to sports. Adolf Hitler almost stole the show with the Berlin Olympics in 1936 only to be denied the last laugh by American athlete Jesse Owens.

There have been reports of wide spread corruption where Rs. 35000 Crores worth of taxpayer’s money has been used (read wasted) in earning the criticism of the global sporting community. Indians would have still accepted the corruption like we do in our everyday lives but the kind of shame that our unprepared stadiums and unprofessional attitude has brought is unacceptable. What did Shiela Dixit and her government do for seven years? Where was the Sport Authority of India and Indian Olympic Association busy all this while to have led us to this shame?

There were some optimists who wanted to bid for the 2020 or 2024 Olympic Games. Some in the sports ministry were optimist that the infrastructure would be ready by then! Let us not bring much more shame to the nation if we can’ make it proud. Our economy might be going hammer and tongs but our infrastructure and governmental attitude still belongs to the Third World. Fans like me would be waiting more for a honourable closing ceremony of the games so that we can save ourselves from more embarrassment.


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