The second incident is with respect to the way the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) behaved with Abhinav Bindra. NRAI suddenly remembered that discipline is a virtue and disqualified Abhinav Bindra from participating in next month’s Commonwealth Shooting Championship. Well, Abhinav needs no introduction. But for those who manage NRAI, perhaps being India’s lone gold medalist in the Beijing Olympics was not a sufficient condition to give Abhinav a readymade berth. This time too things got sorted out later after the intervention of the IOA. As in the case above, the rot still remains.
It goes without saying that Indian hockey players are paid chicken feed when compared to their cricketing counterparts. And the most shameless thing is that even when this team wins the Asia Cup (2007), Azlan Shah Cup (2009) or bags the bronze medal at a Champions Challenge tournament in 2009, they are still not paid their promised piecemeal few lakhs in time. Well, patriotism is not something that can happen on empty stomachs. The crux of all the problems lies in the way each of the sports associations have become a personal fiefdom of politicians and also a place to settle their remaining political scores. For example, for a long time, Indian hockey was the personal fiefdom of former Punjab police DGP KPS Gill. It was in 2008 that the Indian Hockey Federation was dismantled following a series of bribery scandals and it was replaced by Hockey India, which has proved to be equally inept. The same is the case of IOA, which has almost become a personal fiefdom of Suresh Kalmadi, even when India’s performance in international sports has only been sliding and has almost reached the nadir. Had it been a private entity, no such non-performing CEO would have been kept at the helm for such a long time without any substantial result to show. Just like a soldier cannot fight without the right kind of support system in terms of logistics, food, ammunitions, weapons, clothing and information about enemy positions, no team of any sporting order can perform effectively unless the governing bodies are accountable for what they deliver to the players, as well as to that game. Cricket is an interesting case in point. BCCI is one of the richest sports bodies of the world, yet has created a clear demarcation between election bodies and the efficient administration of the game. It has been extremely successful in marketing the game – and thereby bringing in billions of revenues - and also in nurturing and nourishing new talents. And the results have been there to see. Not only has BCCI nurtured and worked towards improving the Indian cricket team’s performance in this century, but BCCI also has been successful in launching the IPL and making it a resounding success and an interesting example of what a sporting body can do to a game. IPL has opened up a vista of opportunity for hundreds of players, who would probably not even make it to the final eleven of their national teams, yet have enough talent to enthrall the audience. The same is the case with what FIFA has done to football. Read More....
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