India are champs…Part 4…social repurcussions…

This was bound to happen:

Irked by the “step-motherly treatment” meted out to the Indian hockey players by the central and four state governments, when compared to the sops given to cricketers after their win in the Twenty20 World Cup, the team members have decided to go on a ‘hunger strike’.

Isn’t it ridiculous that the government decides that it can take the taxpayers’ money and do whatever it wants with it ? Look at this, for example. The state governments think nothing of pouring 5,10, even 21 Lakhs into these players.

It is not a question of whether these players deserve to be rewarded or not. The point is, the taxpayer is not supposed to foot the bill for this largesse from the government. India Uncut makes this argument far more compellingly:

If Vilasrao Deshmukh and Sheila Dikshit wish to use India’s victory to make a statement, they should spend their own money. All poor people in this country, from maids to chaprasis to cycle-rickshaw drivers, pay taxes every time they buy anything. It is ludicrous that their hard-earned money, coercively collected by the state, should be spent on cricketers with endorsements that are worth crores.

Well, that is point number 1.

Point number 2 is that Indian Hockey needs to get a life. You cannot spend the careers of thousands of promising hockey players begging for attention, begging for recognition from the government. It is not because the general public has some aversion to hockey that we are in this state today. The coaches, the players et al have to look at the way the game is run, at the way the players are selected.

If there are no stars in the Indian Hockey team, it is because the IHF treats the players like dirt. “Where is Dhanraj Pillay” is a good question to start the search into why hockey is a forgotten sport in India.

Point number 3: I have written before, on this blog, that the job of the government is to provide infrastructure, to put the framework in place, so to speak. We do not want the government to get into the nitty gritty of everyday life. We do not want the government to manage our lives (read “run our lives”) for us.

The job of the government, here, would have been to put the infrastructure for cricket, hockey, badminton, tennis etc in place (the stadiums, the training facilities, the support staff etc) and get out of the way. Let the market economies decide which sport gets top billing. (If it so turns out that cricket outshines every other sport in India, it is just plain unfortunate. You have to accept it and move on. You cannot force the public to watch such and such a game, just like you cannot force-feed such and such movies to us.)

The unfortunate point is that cricket is the star of the show. The government needs votes. So, it will go after the star…never mind the fact that it has hardly done anything for cricket either. (rewarding players with cash does not help the game. However much you bring in the “incentive” angle, I will not agree to that) . It is vote-bank politics at its best (worst ?)

Asking the government to give cash to achievers in other sports is not the answer. Hockey should ask for better facilities, better administration. In fact, hockey should ask the government to leave them alone so they might improve !

Related Posts:

Ongoing “India are champs” series:

India are champs…Part 5…that fateful last over…

India are champs … Part 3 … questions..

India are champs … Part 2 ..Shoaib Malik’s comments

India are champs … Twenty20 Final Highlights

India are champs … Part 1

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Novak Djokovich: imitating Federer and others…

Here is the video link from Youtube:

There are many more on Youtube that I did not get time to watch.

What does king Roger think of this ? Here is the US Open Finals report from The Hindu:

Djokovic also does one of Federer that’s posted on YouTube. But Federer didn’t exactly smile when asked about Djokovic’s joking.

“I know some guys weren’t happy. I know some guys might think it’s funny,” he said. “He’s walking a tightrope, for sure.”

Ouch ! The man has no sense of humor, eh ? Some people do not even think King Roger is human (link via Jabberwock)

The “Dis-abled” debate

From one of the rare and refreshing pieces of writing from The Hindu, we hear of a debate which has been raging in the sports world for years but has only now taken a twist.

Oscar Pistorius is 20, brave and, perhaps, too fast for his own good. He is a double amputee, who runs on carbon fibre feet, and wants to run in Beijing. Not in the Paralympics where he is already a gold medallist. But in the Olympics. Like any other man.

IMHO (and the writer says the exact same thing), this is not a matter for debate at all. If sportspersons across the world can use better energy drinks, better cricket bats (remember the graphite bat that Ricky Ponting tried to use ?), better clothing and so forth, this instance should be no exception.

What makes the debate tricky (and, I feel, self-serving for the protectionists) is that we are talking about artificial limbs here. At this rate, the future could well bring upon us genetically coded superhumans ! Will that destroy the true spirit of sports ?

 This is a good debate to engage in if only to address the demons inside all of us. Ultimately, however, we need to remind ourselves that this young man would not have gotten to this stage without his enduring human spirit…with or without prosthetics..

 Soon, the IAAF will reveal whether Pistorius (who hasn’t qualified for Beijing yet) is eligible for the Olympics. But in a way it does not matter, for Pistorius is already the very ideal of the Olympian. Whatever the springiness of a carbon-fibre foot, it pales before the strength of this human’s spirit.

Will the real Sania Mirza please step out !

Another frustrating defeat for Sania Mirza. This is a continuation of her streak of losing out in the second round of all major tournaments.

I wonder what it is that gees the nation up so much about this young lady. I have seen tons of news stories about her on TV and read gazillion bytes written about her on the net. These mostly focus on her good looks, her attitude, the T-shirts she wears, the jewelery she wears, her Muslim background, how her father has coached her, which foreign coach she is working with…the works.

Surprisingly, in all of this, I haven’t read or watched a single piece analyzing her game, her strong points, her weaknesses. She is a mystery to most of us Indian sports fans. Its almost as if she is a black-box and you can never be sure what is going to turn out of it any given day. Perhaps if we spent some time understanding what it is that her game is made of, we could figure out how good she really is.

I feel she has a panache for finishing off points and can hardly resist a chance on her strong forehand. There is a lack of patience and a lack of the approach towards building each point. Given the fact that she does not have a super-booming serve and also the fact that she is of below average height and weight (in women’s tennis), she doesn’t have a lot going for her. She needs to be more like Justin Henin, trying to build each point up to its climax, trying to outwit and wrong foot the opponent, trying to make angles with available firepower.

But all of the above, I believe, is too simplistic. These news channels need to get an expert to give the viewers an idea of what is missing in her game so they understand the real Sania Mirza. There is no point in building up hype with each game she wins and then bringing her down when she loses. Its not fair to her, its not fair to us viewers.

Will the real Sania please step out !

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