The Telegraph
Thursday , December 6 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Feel sorry for athletes


Gurbux Singh

It’s an irony that the year we had our best-ever show in the Olympics, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) slapped us with a suspension notice. The fight between the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the Indian government has prompted the IOC to take this stringent action. It’s a black day in the history of Indian Olympic sport.

The suspension was coming as the IOC, for the last one-and-half years, was asking the IOA to put their house in order. While the government put its foot down, asking the IOA to follow the sports code, the IOC believed it was government intervention.

Herein, IOC’s double standard is so much evident. If the IOC thinks that the happenings in India are not according to the Olympic Charter, then what is happening in China? Why are they turning a blind eye when it comes to China?

The entire sports programme is governed by the Chinese government and I have never heard there was any election in any of the associations. In India, despite all the mud-slinging games, at least we have elections in the different associations.

I think the matter could have been sorted out amicably. The IOA should not have allowed tainted people like Lalit Bhanot to file nomination and the government also could have been lenient.

I feel sorry for the sportspersons who will have to bear the brunt. In the present scenario, nobody knows how much government aid will come for the sports-persons. In London, we won six medals and in Rio we have a very good opportunity of doubling the number. Now, that looks very unlikely. And even if we manage to win some medals, the tricolour will not be flying. It will be a disgrace.

Administrative wise Tuesday’s development is the worst thing to happen. Sportswise, though, the hockey team’s failure to qualify for the Beijing Games was a black day.

Talking about hockey, we are doing quite well in the ongoing Champions Trophy. Michael Nobbs has rung in changes, weeding out the non-performing assets like Sandeep Singh, Shivendra Singh, Ignace Tirkey, Tushar Khandekar, Bharat Chetri and Gurbaaz Singh.

The new faces like Mandeep Singh, Yuvraj Walmiki, Aakash Deep, Rupinder Pal Singh and Gurwinder Singh are doing well under the able leadership of Sardara Singh. In London, Sardara ploughed a lonely furrow as there was no support from his teammates. In this tournament, though others are chipping in.

Most of the teams, including India, are in the transitional phase. So, it’s been quite an engrossing Champions Trophy so far. Sardara & Company take on Belgium in one of the quarter finals on Thursday. Belgium beat us in London and they are one of the emerging forces of world hockey. We have to play our hearts out to make a place in the last-four.