Fall from grace
Sir — The former Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong, is not the first sporting hero who has fallen from grace following a doping scandal. Another former athlete, Ben Johnson, often comes to mind when one thinks about sporting icons whose careers were cut short when they were caught cheating (“US will forgive Lance: Ben Johnson”, Jan 21).Other widely watched sports like football and tennis have been relatively free of such nuisance in present times.
Sportsmen use performance enhancing drugs because they believe that by doing so they would somehow get ahead in their sporting arenas. Usually, doping is more prevalent in sports like athletics, swimming and cycling. But once one gets caught, all the hard-earned reputation comes crashing down. Armstrong has often been called a hero for his fighting spirit — he has successfully managed to fight cancer. However, that was before he admitted to taking drugs. Now that we know the truth, it will be hard to feel pity for him.
Ambar Mallick, Calcutta
Sir — The “disgraced cyclist”, Lance Armstrong, has at last received some sympathy from another fallen sports hero — the former athlete, Ben Johnson. Johnson recently said that the American people will forgive Armstrong. This former star sprinter had faced a ban at the time of Seoul Olympics in 1988 for taking steroids.
Armstrong, a seven-time Tour de France champion, was stripped of his titles last year after the United States Anti-Doping Agency branded him a “serial cheat”. On a famous talk show, he has recently confessed to using performance enhancing drugs. However, Armstrong need not lose heart. He can be a valuable asset as he can help the anti-doping agency track down other substance abusers in the sport. He must be possessing a lot of useful information in this regard.
Ashok Kumar Ghosh, Calcutta
Sir — The article, “Search for a better life” (Jan 18), by Swapan Dasgupta should act as an eye-opener for all policy-makers in the country. When it comes to industrial development, the Gujarat government has surged ahead with the means at its disposal. Modi has worked steadily towards the goal of industrialization and is enjoying the dividends of his efforts now. On the other hand, states like West Bengal continue to fare miserably when it comes to the promotion of industry.
But it is never too late as far as a state’s welfare is concerned. Without any further delay, Bengal’s policy-makers should take a leaf out of the Gujarat chief minister’s book and grab the opportunities to promote industry, which will benefit the people of the state.
Anup De, Calcutta
Sir — Narendra Modi can be easily considered the leader of the masses as he is hugely popular among the people of Gujarat. The people of the state are fortunate to have such a leader who has worked hard to facilitate good governance and develop infrastructure. This would encourage foreign industrialists and Indian businessmen to invest in the state. All chief ministers should take the cue from Modi.
The recently concluded Vibrant Gujarat summit at Gandhinagar also proved to be a success as many heavyweight industrialists were present at the summit and they expressed the desire to invest in the state. The success of Vibrant Gujarat has once again proved that Modi deserves the praise that is lavished on him for Gujarat’s development.
Ranjeet Ghosh, Calcutta
Sir — In his article, “Exposure matters’’ (Jan 5), Sunanda K. Datta-Ray aptly highlights the mindset of India’s English language media. Datta-Ray carefully brings out the contrast between the media in Britain and that in India. For instance, he points out if several people died in a boat accident in Britain, where he begun his career as a journalist, the reporters would have “ squabbled over survivors, friends and relatives” and it would have been a news of great importance. But in India, it would merely be a “filler” in newspapers. The idea is that in Britain, journalists conduct thorough research on an incident while covering it. Sitting in luxurious offices does not facilitate good journalism. Scribes must go out into the field and get to the bottom of the matter.
Nirmal Datta, Burdwan