The Return of the Games

The Return of the Games

The Summer Olympics have returned to the country where they first began. Albeit in much altered circumstances. Islamists have been asking Muslim athletes not to take part. An Iranian world champion refused to fight an Israeli and forfeited a chance for a medal. The ghost of the Munich games still haunts. Tainted athletes in the quest for personal fame risk bringing an entire country to shame. After weeks of speculation the Greek 200m winner Kenteris won't run. The rings representing the continents still have to bind the whole world together and the Baron Courbetin's Olympic goal is still as far as it was 108 years ago. Yet, the Olympic Spirit will be blazing strong in most athletes.

Nobody wants to know where you grew up, how much your sponsor gave you, what stuggles you faced to get on that lane. All that matters is the starting line, the sound of the gun and who gets to the finish line first. Everybody else can make excuses...later.

Whither India?

This could well be India's best year at the Olympics despite the excuses for non-performance of many of the 'outside chances'. For the first time we have a few athletes who are actually going there to compete and not just for sight-seeing.
The Indian women shooters and world records holders did not deliver but Major Rathore did getting India's first silver. So we have moved a little higher to the silver than the lone bronzes of the past two. Good to hear that he has swiftly been rewarded Rs. 80 lakh. Interestingly it's a Korean company Samsung that is offering rewards to Indian athletes winning medals.
The other medal contenders Paes and Bhupathi are one win away from a medal of some sort. To do that they have to win one of their next two matches. Today's match is big and will start a few minutes from now. They are a better pair than Kiefer and Shuttler. For now Paes and Bhupathy have left aside their money squabbles and ego hassles to rally behind Team India.
It seems that Pillay's Ultimate Dream will remain unfinished. Indian hockey looks to be complete shambles. Our neighbours in comparision have been demolishing teams and not making comebacks like ours against minnows like South Africa. Today's game with Australia is a a must-win. We will need a miracle or lots of luck to make it to the semi-finals. Last Olympics' lone Indian star Malleshwari exited with a back injury. She has never looked her best this year. Disheartening, that after winning one bronze Malleshwari thinks she is has more than contributed to Indian sport. Is their lack of enthusiasm a reflection on our lack of seriousness about our best athletes and sport in general, other than Cricket?
That finally leaves the best Indian athelete in Anju Bobby George. Hopefully by then we will have atleast two medals on the board. The flag bearer of the Indian team should not feel like Atlas carrying the hopes of 1 billion people and then be crushed by the weight their collective hopes. When she gets on the runway on the 24th we want her to fly.

My diatribe on Cricket coming up..

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