So the inevitable has happened. India’s Olympians have been orphaned. The Sushil Kumars, Mary Koms, Gagan Narangs, Vijender Singhs and thousands and lakhs of sportspersons are now without a parent body. Thanks to the bickering in the Indian as well as the international sporting arena, we got suspended from the Olympic Movement in the year we had our best-ever Olympics.
On the face of it, all of this has happened due to the much-maligned sports code. The brain child of the sports ministry, rather former sports minister Ajay Maken, has become the proverbial last straw. The Olympic Charter prohibits government intervention in its National Olympic Committees (NOC) and thus the code has become an anathema. But there is another side to the story. The code has been endorsed by the court. The IOA can defy the Indian government, not the Indian courts.
But who is the International Olympic Committee (IOC) fooling? One must be naive or a saint to believe that there is no government interference in the Chinese Olympic Committee. The reality is that sport starts and ends with the government behind the Great Wall. The IOC’s selective blindness is because of the omnipotence of the Chinese athletes. The IOC does not earn a pie from India, it can host the best-ever Games in Beijing. Double standards!
It’s a situation somewhat similar to international cricket. The International Cricket Council has no courage to take action against the BCCI despite the Indian board’s violation of the ICC charter more often than not. The BCCI is too powerful for the ICC to contemplate action against it.
Having said that, Indian sport is not without blemish. There is enough politics and there are enough politicians who play spoilsport. One way to look at it is that the IOC action is an opportunity to reinvigorate the Indian Olympic movement. A fresh beginning can be made with the infusion of new and right personnel in the interim body which now looks inevitable. It can be the beginning of the beginning and not the beginning of the end.