Our players have won 1 gold, 2 silver and 4 bronze medals in the ongoing Tokyo Olympics. The Nation swung to the victory of our weightlifter Mirabai Chanui, when she won the silver and Neeraj Chopra made Haryana and the nation proud by winning the debutant gold medal and our boxer Lavlina Borgohen grabbed the bronze medal while grapplers Dhaiya and Punia won silver and bronze respectively and P V Sindhu won the bronze in badminton and our men’s hockey team won a bronze medal after a gap of 41 years and the stellar performance displayed by our women hockey team forced everyone to ponder. The performance displayed by the teams and the payers has proved that they can win medals if they are groomed well. Our Government and the media are harping over these seven medals and the news reports of these players is spiking media’s TRP.
These stellar performing players were warding off their stress, worries and wanting and they were worried far more for their families rather than their own selves as the stress of the moneylenders from whom their parents had availed loans to send them to play. We honor the successful players but nowhere support them in their preparations. This time a contingent comprising of 119 players with 228 members was dispatched for Tokyo Olympics wherein 67 were male players and 52 females.
August is a commemorative month for us as on 8th of August 1942 Indian National Congress passed the Quit India resolution and launched on 9th of August. On 15th of August 1947 we attained freedom with the hope of creating an ideal nation which shall be free from caste and religions and would strive for equal justice for all. The then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on the eve of the 9th Asian Games, on the asking of Rajiv Gandhi established the Ministry for Youth and Sports which in the year 1985 was reorganized as the Youth Affairs and Sports Department which in the year 2000 was expanded as a Ministry and on the asking of Rahul Gandhi during his youth campaign, Dr. Manmohan Singh created separate ministries for Youth and Sports. We claim to be the largest democracy of the world but get elated with only 7 medals, while many smaller and weaker countries than us are well ahead of us in the medal tally. Government does nothing to prepare the players but launches publicity campaign to claim credit for the wins.
The outcome of this Olympic is as were in the previous Olympics. China is at the top by winning 38 gold medals while we could win only 1 gold till now, while China is progressing we are having a reverse trend. It is not that the performance of our players has been dismal and we cannot blame our players for not winning medals because the conditions in which they train and play leave nothing to be desired from them.
The sordid tales of our players is such that many national and international level players are forced to work in MNREGA to survive. The first para shooter champion is forced to sell chips on roadside and the situation had worsened prior to Covid-19 as more than 20 lakhs national and international players have been rendered jobless and are desperate to do anything to survive and the situation has worsened post the epidemic and they are enslaved to maintain their diets and whether it is their coaches or other staff all are forced on bad times and our government is not ready to discuss this situation.
Had the governments prepared the players with an honest approach than at least players from each State would have won 1 gold and we could have won 29 gold. Since many years Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister of Odisha is sponsoring our hockey teams while central government wants medals from the players but does not provide for their basis requirements and despite this our players have been dedicatedly pursuing this dream. Government spends crores in the publicity campaigns of “Khelo India Youth Games” but spends nothing to train the players. Rani Rampal the captain of our women hockey team years for a glass of milk so do Lavlina and Mirabai, who all have traversed mountains of troubles to win medals for the country.
These are those players who with one meal a day had traveled for miles to train in the playfields. Now such conditions are faced by the whole nation. Till 1980s men hockey team might have been winning gold but they have abysmally gone down which Modi proved by launching the Ann Mahotsav where Modi has to take recourse of providing free rations to 15 crores of the 23 crore population of Uttar Pradesh. How and how many players can be produces by a State facing such an acute food crisis. Game and its players have no caste but when the women hockey team despite their stellar performance los, the upper caste neighbors of Vandana Kataria burst crackers and scorned the daughter of a Dalit family being responsible for the loss. Prime Minister is satisfied by acclaiming that country is achieving and that opposition is registering self goals. He does not implement any plan in the name of Major Dhyan Chand but derives happiness by rechristening the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Rattan award, while payers are despaired by their disparity as they require infrastructure and not any name to bring medals.
It’s still a fresh memory that this year the Chief Sports Officer of CRPF DIG Khazan Singh and his accomplice inspector were suspended when the preliminary inquiry revealed that those sportswomen of the women battalion who were to be promoted in sports had to develop intimate physical relationship with Khazan Singh, as this was a precondition. Girls joining the para military forces belong to poor and lower middle classes for whom to preserve their existence is a challenge. The lady Commandant of CRPF Commandant Neeraj Bala was given a punishment posting for bringing out this sordid truth. The acts of Commandant Neeraj, posted in Dwarka a few kilometers away from the Prime Minister and Home Minister’s office, of treating the complaints seriously and proceeding with the inquiry in accordance with law instilled all the other victimized women of the women battalion with confidence and she was transferred out immediately before completing the inquiry, out of the fear of unmasking of many important persons who have remained under mask for years together.
Despite High Court staying the transfer the compliance is yet to be effected. This has put in open the price the girls have to pay to progress in the field. A woman player disclosed as to what and how they are treated despite which they always try to win medals for the country fording the crisis of stress, anxiety and difficulties but their courage is not recognized for want of a medal and absence of any big achievement. A few help to make one eligible to win medals but the governments don’t.
We hope that this Olympic shall be a sapience for our governments, media and the society and we may provide better opportunities and proper infrastructure to our players so that instead of Chine our player shall be at the top. Out of the 7 medals 6 have been won by those who have struggled with depravity. We should secure the future of the players and make their life less stressful only then Khelega India-Jeetega India.