Six months’ notice should be enough to wake up to the fact that 2016’s biggest sporting event is the Olympics, not the South Asian Games that finished recently in Guwahati and Shillong. It should be sufficient time to realise that India will struggle to get its boxers to qualify for the Rio Games. To understand that trying to even equal the modest count of six medals from the last games in London might well be difficult. To ponder how a country like India plans schedules of its athletes to win an Olympic medal. Instead, half of them were bundled off to Assam and Meghalaya to participate in a useless flexing of muscle against ordinary competition at the SAG.
If everyone’s done scoring political brownie points in Assam, the Union sports minister might want to shed some light on how the Sports Authority of India is planning to support athletes headed to Rio. Or ask the few dozen medal hopefuls how they plan to live up to the opportunity to rise to greatness that comes once every four years.
Of course, sports lovers in the Northeast enjoyed watching a plethora of disciplines. However, there was nothing stopping the sports planners from allowing India’s second string to take centrestage, even without compromising on the medal count. Mature sporting nations that dream of global excellence and not just subcontinental dominance plan years ahead. They strut their stars at the biggest competitive stages — the Olympics. The SAG and its outrageous medal count just make India look like a sporting power content in gully greatness.