PACHU MENON, MARGAO
THE ‘golden harvest’ by India at the Jakarta-Palembang games has been an eye-opener of sorts with the country getting medals from sporting challenges in disciplines that were never its forte. While it was a disappointment galore as far as some of the medal ‘certainties’ were concerned, the surprises that came especially from the track and field events should encourage the AFI to sit up and reorganise the entire gamut of its sporting priorities. In fact the stupendous sprint of Hima Das in the 400 metres at the IAAF world U20 championships 2018, should be the harbinger of a spurt in athletics that could catapult India into a new orbit. However, with a fair number of unknown ‘entities’ cornering glory for the country in the track and field events at the 18th Asian Games, it is time the nation woke up to the fact that it is not dearth of talent but spotting and nurturing it that will help the cause of this sports discipline. Milkha Singh and P T Usha are those rare phenomena to have graced the nation’s sports scenario. But it would be wrong to bask in the glory of their achievements and refuse to make fresh endeavours to better the efforts of the legends. Moreover, humble origins and sagas of grit and determination describing the stunning success of many an athlete in ASIAD 2018 – and through individual efforts at that – the government should be seen shedding its indolent attitude towards sports in the country. India’s representation at various international meets have solely revolved around the committed showing of a few while the others merely tag along on an all-paid jolly-ride, courtesy the ‘nepotistic thoughtfulness’ of a few in various sports federations who manage to have their ‘opinions’ heard in the right places. More than national pride it has been the parochial considerations that prompt national selectors to send substandard teams for international meets. The commendable show by its athletes of late should encourage India to do a rethink on the strategies that goes for sports administration in the country. Instead of showing surprise at a rich haul of medals at any meet, the day India laments that it is quite a few medals short, the country would truly be said to be in the league of the superpowers of sports!