Friday, August 19, 2016

Facts about Indians in Rio Olympics

Speaking about Dipa Karmakar, who came fourth, Abhinav Bindra explains how it’s impressive that Karmakar even came fourth. Or if any of the Indian athletes even qualify.

Consider the following:

First, Dipa Karmakar’s physiotherapist was not able to travel with her. And was only rushed to Rio after she made the finals, contrary to what Goel has claimed publicly.

Second, India’s chief medical officer at the Olympics, is a radiologist called Pawandeep Tony Singh. He knows nothing about sports medicine. When athletes went to him, his solution for all pains was Combiflam. That he was having a gala time at the Games has been reported by all athletes I’ve spoken with – hanging out by the pool, drinking from 3 pm. Tony Singh is the son of Tarlochan Singh, who is the Vice President of the Indian Olympic Association.

Third, the IOA has taken a huge delegation of state Olympic office bearers to get votes in future. They were all flown business class, while the athletes were flown in economy. Despite accreditation being limited, it is being given to officials rather than the support staff of the athletes.

Four, the IOA president, Narayana Ramachandran has not met the athletes even once, till the writing of this article.

The lead-up to the Games was a shambles with the appointment of Sachin Tendulkar, Salman Khan, A R Rahman and Bindra as ambassadors. Except for the last, the other choices were puzzling. Why appoint a cricketer as a brand ambassador to the Olympics? It did give Tendulkar a chance to hang out with his friends - Mukesh Ambani’s family. The less said about Nita Ambani being India’s only International Olympic representative, the better.

Interestingly, the United States of America which has led the medals tally for years has no Minister for Sport. Since these days it’s cool to be following the American way, perhaps Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take a cue from good friend “Barack” and abolish the post and the apparatus which goes along with it. It may well lead us to surprise ourselves in Tokyo.