V Gangadhar reminiscences about the week that was – a week that brought two medals to India from the land of Olympics and new sporting events that seem to be lurking on the horizon.
Hail Indian sports. Something happened last week when we grabbed and bolted (not the US Bolt way but the Indian version) As occupants began vacating rooms in their Olympic village and packed their bags (after carefully counting their medals). We began to think of the week that was.
As usual, I was pretty sure that a nation of 100 billion plus would draw a blank in the medals tally. Then miracles began to happen. Two women bagged a medal each in Silver and Bronze and personally they were more than enough for. If we desired to build medals tally let us do it slowly, medal after medal, bronze to silver, silver to gold and so on. No greed please, it could lead to heart attacks. Yes, we won two medals at the Olympics taking our time over it, but we made our usual type of noise over it.
In fact this is one factor which sooner or later will confront the Olympics. India is noted to be among the noisiest nations in the world (sports events, melas, political rallies, traffic jams, rasta rokos). These upset normal lives in the cities, lead to more than the normal quota of premature babies and so on. Just on the eve of Rio Olympics one of these Noise-Premature deliveries indicated that if the Olympics were held in India within the next five years the rise in population will be more than 14 per cent. This startling fact induced the Union government to gl slow on applying for the Olympic Games which may not be held before 2500 AD.
We did well in the prize distribution ceremonies for our Olympic medallists who did better than those who had been without drinking water for over three years. But here too a lot more improvement and sophistication are needed. No one complained about Amravati being built as the showpiece new capital of Telengana. But what about its new sports infrastructure? Many media houses published pictures of AP Chief Minister Chandra Naidu playing a ‘strange’ game with silver medallist P V Sindhu. Both were bent low over colourful flowers as if they were trying to smell them. Was it a new Olympic event ‘Smelling the Flowers contest’? Olympic authorities and sports were consulted and it became known the picture had nothing to do with flowers, but Naidu and Sindhu beginning a game of badminton for which they had to bend down to serve!
Other games may create similar problems. In Amritsar, surgeons operated upon a local cop and removed 40 knives which were embedded in his stomach. What were the knives doing there? The constable explained that on occasions he had an irresistible impulse to pick up and swallow steel knives. Police who had a grievance in the just-concluded Olympics would not want to lose and insist in a new sport ‘Knife Swallowing’ where Punjab could a strong medal contender. How unique it would be if the Chief Guest instead of pinning the medal on the winner’s chest asked him to open his mouth widely and placed the medal inside!