Common Shame; Slow poisoning; Count down; Uncommon wealth
It was quite the photo finish. When the 2018 Commonwealth Games (CWG) wound up on April 15, India finished number three. And then, double trap Olympian shooter turned sports minister Rajyavardhan Rathore went and shot his mouth off. Oh so partyriotic, he credited PM ji with the proud haul of 66 med-als. Sports federations also received an email from MOS Sports office seeking a comparison of India's performance in international events during the last four years with that during the UPA regime.
Irksome it might be, but much like the reptile in Eden, such thoughts have a way of snaking into the psyche and stinging now and then. Reductive. Hiss. Not in the spirit of sports. Hiss. Hiss. But one cannot help wonder now if there is any connection between medals and governments. Is there? Hiss. Hiss. Hiss.
In the 2016 Olympic Games, India participated in 15 sports and got 2 medals. In 2012, 13 sports, 6 medals. In 2008, 12 spo-rts, 3 medals. And in 2004, 14 sports, 1 medal. India's medal haul at Asian Games 2006, 2010 and 2014 - 53, 65, 57, respectively. Who was in power when - do join the dots. At the 2014 CWG, India won 64 medals, stood fifth. In 2010, second with 101 medals. Experts say this may have to do with leveraging host nation advantage; it entails inclusion or exclusion of certain sports.
Comparisons, worm charts cannot capture the effort. Not here, where there is no one sports policy. Where state subject or concurrent, we still can't decide. Where most of the investment is at the personal level. At medal time, governments wake up, then go back to sleep. Games are about winners and all those who participate directly, indirectly; even those who don't make it. Let them hiss. We'll be good sports.