Rio Olympics 2016 have finally come to an end with IOC President Thomas Bach declaring its closure. The flames have been been distinguished and the tournament is officially over.
The biggest sporting event in the world turned out to be a bitter sweet one for India. In spite of having sent out the largest contingent of players in country’s Olympics history, comprising of 118 players, only two players managed to bag medals. But the amount of passion ignited by the athletes among the masses reached to a ‘never-seen-before’ level in the country(except of course, in cricket).
But, while the state and central governments are now showering sportspersons with prize money and awards, the players were left ’embarassed’ on several occasions by the sports and government officials of the country during Rio Olympics 2016.
Vijay Goel’s ‘charades’ at Rio Olympics 2016
The sports minister of India, Vijay Goel, who was accompanying Indian athletes to show his support and monitor requests of athletes, ended up almost losing his Olympics accreditation. The minister’s ‘entourage’ without having accreditation to certain locations behaved in ‘aggressive’ and ‘rude’ manner when they were stopped by the officials to enter.
The India sports minister received official warning from Olympics Organising Committee.
If that was not all, the minister went on to Twitter to show support to Indian athletes. He ended up misspelling Dipa Karmakar’s name. Also the post was published with his image and not the image of the gymnast.
Just when the Twitterati were done trolling him, he again posted another tweet sending out wishes to track-and-field athlete Srabani Nanda but attached the image of Dutee Chand along with it.
It just shows how invested the sports minister of the country is towards the field. The ministers of the country do not even know their own players, to whom they are supposedly responsible for. The fate of Indian sports is doomed, if such remains the attitude of the officials responsible for looking after sports in the country.
Haryana ministers Rio ‘vacation’
For the ministers of Haryana, Rio Olympics 2016 was ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity to have a state-funded trip to Rio. Anil Vij, the sports minister of Haryana led a 9-member team to Brazil, asking funds from the government, so that they can be on the site to “encourage” players from Haryana.
The only problem was that the ministers were spotted hanging out at Rio beaches and hotels, and sightseeing the city, when players from their state were performing in the Olympics. No minister actually attended any game.
Such is the dedication of the ministers of our country towards sports development. All they see in a major sports event is a chance to eat good food, see some tourist spots and have a foreign trip. And when the sports associations ask for fund, they make excuses to justify their lack of prioritisation.
The ‘doctors strange’ of Indian Olympics team
Dipa Karmakar was not the only athlete who was not given proper medical facility during Rio Olympics 2016. The Indian Olympics contingent had two official medical staffers, Pawandeep Singh and Col R S Negi, who both were radiologists by profession and had no prior experience in sports medicine.
The two radiologists, coincidentally are related to Indian Olympics Association’s(IOA) key members. According to reports, O P Jaisha’s coach had to get in to scuffle with the doctors to demand medical attention after she fainted during the marathon.
The two doctors were not present in camps, according to reports, and were unknown to players, which was why Saina Nehwal had to consult IOC doctors after she suffered inflammation in her knee.
Most athletes also reportedly said that the doctors prescribed ‘combiflam’ for every health-related issue.
This is where the irresponsible attitude of sports authorities in the country comes into focus. Vinesh Phogat, one of the wrestlers, suffered severe injury during her quarter-final bout. She had to be taken off the field in a stretcher.
Such incidents can happen on-and-off the field in such a huge sporting event. Without immediate proper medical attention, injuries can easily go out of hand, and might have serious consequences on the player’s sporting career.
Dipa Karmakar’s physiotherapist was considered as ‘wasteful’
The entire country stayed up at night to watch Dipa Karmakar performing her ‘death-defying’ Produnova vault. She was the first Indian gymnast to reach the finals of an Olympic tournament. Event though she failed to win a medal, she gained a ‘heroic’ stature amongst the citizens of the country.
The government of India showered her with prize money and accolades after her feat. But how was she treated before she became one of the most celebrated sports Olympian in the country? The Sports Authority of India did not allow Karmakar’s physiotherapist Sajad Ahmad to accompany her to Rio. It was deemed as “wastage” of money and resources. Only when Karmakar reached the finals, SAI decided to rush the physiotherapist to Brazil.
The truth is the sports officials did not expect Karmakar to make any sort of mark in Olympics. That is the sad truth of sports in India. We never have faith in out players who dedicate their entire lives on field to make the nation proud.
The curious case of ‘peanuts’ dinner party
On 15th August, which is celebrated as Independence Day in India, the Indian Embassy in Rio hosted a ‘grand reception’ for the athletes that are representing the country, organized by the youth and sports affairs ministry. But little did they know that they will be served with peanuts by the embassy. The players missed their dinner at the Games Village to attend the reception.
India players served ‘beer, peanuts’ on Independence Day at Indian Embassy in Rio
The athletes of the country perhaps would have loved to see a bit more enthusiasm from their ministry in organising a reception for them in Rio. The US delegation reserved a luxury cruise called ‘The Silver Cloud’ for the highly-paid NBA stars of US men’s basketball team. The Indian ministry could at least have given proper meal to theirs.
Anyhow, it is not about food. It is about showing some kind of respect to those who worked all their life to represent their nation at the world’s biggest stage. Serving peanuts was just plain ‘humiliating’, to say the least.