The coveted gold medal eluded India at the just concluded Olympics, but there’s hope, nevertheless. The London Games fetched India’s best-ever haul of six medals, with the country finishing 55th in the list of 204 competing nations. At Beijing, we had gold, but despite this, we have virtually doubled our intake in metal tally from three on the last occasion, to six.
For a country with an annual sports budget of over Rs 700 crore, where bureaucrats and sports administrators sometimes deny the rights of the sportspersons due to corruption, India’s performance is encouraging. This should be seen in the backdrop of two silver medals in the kitty apart from the politics in boxing, which denied India the gold.
Our boxer Vikas Krishan’s defeat in the 69 kilo category at the Olympics actually smacks of victory of politics, rather than sports. Vikas’ fight with American counterpart Errol Spence 13:11 resulted in a victory to the Indian. But the review by the jury, amended the final score 13:15 in favour of the USA.
What evidently transpired was the protest which was accepted by the jury, and subsequently declared Spence triumphant. Of course, India filed an appeal to the decision later, but was rejected. The point is: if the Indian Boxing Association was powerful enough, such manipulations perhaps would not have occurred. What is ironic is that even in sport, that too in the highest forum, the better one may not always win.
In 1980, India fetched just a single gold, and 16 years down the line a bronze. With London Olympics now concluded, Sports Minister Ajay Maken has already set a target of 25 medals for 2020. This simply means that the government is now seriously thinking of boosting its medal tally. It is unclear whether such goals were ever sent in the past. But, if the government is serious about augmenting its medal record, there is little doubt that there’s need for India to participate in more categories of sport.
The medals won were in different sporting events -- wrestling, boxing, shooting, badminton, apart from steelar display in other sporting event. Sports managers ought to realise that while China graduated from participating in 19 sports in 1984 to 29 in 2012, India has moved just a notch higher by participating in 11 sports in 1988 to 12 in 2012.
Apart from adequate funding for sport, there’s an urgent need to de-politicise and democratise sport management The Indian government reportedly allocated $48.1 million on the Olympic effort in the 16 months run up to the event, unlike neighbouring China’s $50 million on each event! Britain, which won just one gold at Atlanta in 1996 has occupied the third spot, following a hike in funding of 70 million pounds. There is a lesson for India to learn from this data by offering some high-performance facilities, equipment and diets to aspiring representatives at the coveted games.
The unfortunate part of the games was the disgraceful performance of our once hockey champions. The team found itself at the bottom of the table. This dismal performance reveals the faction-ridden hockey administration. It’s time the government immediately draws up a plan of action, even at the village level, if needed, to bring up the standard of the game.
Saptah fair must be shifted
Vasco’s annual Saptah came to a partial end on August 2, 2012. The next day, Swatantra Path road was opened after ten days for vehicular traffic and most of the stalls cleared from the footpaths except the furniture stalls at the end of the street.
I wish to bring to the notice of the authorities, the ills and hardships faced by residents living along Swatantra Path and Fr. Jose Vaz road due to the commercial activity during Saptah.
Erecting stalls on footpath amounts to encroachment, which is in contempt of High Court Order dated 4 June 1997 (Removal of encroachments from footpaths). These stalls not only encroach on public footpaths, but also block and are put in front of commercial shops, banks, and residences on Swatantra Path. All the effected commercial establishments pay their yearly trade license and House tax to the municipality. The Municipality should compensate the loss suffered by these traders.
The Mormugao Port also suffers loss on account of the fair. For two days, movement of all types of cargo by road from and to the port is not permitted . Since the two roads are closed,, all traffic entering and leaving the city is diverted to Francisco Luis Gomes road. There is total congestion.. It becomes dangerous for pedestrians especially school children to cross the road. All types of vehicles from light to trailers use this road.
Thousands of people converge at the fair. In the event of fire, the Fire department will not be able to gain access to the site of the blaze.. The same situation will arise if any citizen or resident needs immediate medical help or ambulance.
Since the road is closed for ten days,residents cannot use their vehicles for their daily activities. The security rating level of India is higher than most other countries due to terrorism. It is advisable to decongest crowded places in order to prevent terrorist acts. CCTV cameras and 12 ft. high towers with armed police at few points is of little help. Most of the Police Force of Vasco is deployed at the fair, due to which police are unable to attend to other duties. There is no proper sanitation available at the site. A few mobile toilets placed are not adequate for so many people, including vendors, and many relieve themselves in alleys and corners of the buildings there by creating stench.
The Giant wheel erected in the children’s park is used for commercial activity. It is in direct violation of the High Court Order of 20 February 2006 directing that areas earmarked for playground are not to be used for commercial activities. Moreover, the giant wheel is not inspected or certified for safety by any competent authority. It is good news to hear that a group of prominent citizens from Vasco have threatened to go to the High Court if the authorities fail to shift the fair stalls to an alternate location next year.