“Hopefully, one day a vault will be named after me.”
—Dipa Karmakar, Indian woman gymnast.
“How I dress is a very personal thing.”
Mohinder Amarnath, in his latest column, anointed Lokesh Rahul as the next Rahul Dravid.
He may be right, he may be wrong.
Much earlier, Cheteshwar Pujara was Dravid’s logical successor.
Then, it was Ajinkya Rahane.
Now, it’s KL.
It’s never easy to step into the shoes of colossuses.
I’m sure each of the above would rather be recognised for themselves rather than somebody’s clone.
And it will take some doing to match Dravid ‘s feats and consistency over a sustained period of time.
Greatness doesn’t occur overnight.
In some way, Dravid seems a little short-changed by these comparisons.
Is it because his achievements are the result of constant improvement, endeavour, discipline, technical correctness and correct temperament rather than simply genius, wristiness or off-side godliness?
No one points to any of the current lot and claim that they’re the next Tendulkar, Ganguly or Laxman.
Comparisons are sometimes drawn between Kohli and Tendulkar, but the Indian test skipper has etched out a stellar place for himself.
Coming back to the question, is Lokesh the next Dravid?
He’s surely the next Rahul.
“After a certain distance, you run with your mind, not with your legs.”
“We have the people; we have the brains and manpower. We have the best doctors and engineers. We can send rockets to the moon and Mars, but we can’t get a medal. Isn’t that funny?”
—Anju Bobby George.
“The world changes for the better when we all crib—cribbing is good.”
“If Test cricket was a shop, it would have been shut down a long time ago for lack of customers.”
Shobhha De’s series of ‘well-timed’ tweets deploring Indian athletes’ performances at the Olympics was roundly castigated by the Twitteratti with Abhinav Bindra and Sachin Tendulkar joining the discordant chorus.
“The athletes give their best in their efforts to win a medal. All the Indian athletes in Rio 2016 have my support. They work for years and years but when you miss out narrowly, you obviously feel bad.
When the results don’t go your way, that is when you need to support them.
The first half didn’t go our way but you have to support them when the chips are down.”
But there can’t be smoke without fire (not unless it’s dry ice, of course).
Five days into the Games and the medals tally still shows nought against India’s listing.
The shooters have disappointed sorely with only Abhinav Bindra coming close to a bronze and Dipa Karmakar making the vault final in gymnastics.
The archers continue to keep Indians back home waiting for their maiden medal despite years of selection and training to promote this ancient art and its modern avatar.
The London Olympics saw India claim six medals—two in shooting, two in wrestling and one each in badminton and boxing.
The expectations were that the Indian contingent of 119 would clinch at least seven this time.
That’s less than a six per cent chance of a medal for our sports-persons.
Is that what’s to be expected from our competitors—that 94 per cent of them are to be no-hopers and just make up the numbers and soak in the sights?
Admittedly, the qualification marks have been made stiffer in recent times and for most Indian athletes from sports other than cricket, a chance to participate in the Olympics is the highlight of their low-storied careers.
But surely we can and should demand more from them. Surely at least 25% of them should be realistic medal contenders and the rest should be earmarked as talents for the future sent to assimilate the ethos and pressure of the Games so that they are not overcome with stage fright the next time around.
The qualification marks too could be made a lot more stringent than the minimum needed.
Yes, De’s remarks were ill-advised and probably nothing more than a publicity stunt. It’s a wonder whether our Indian athletes would worry too much about a socialite columnist otherwise.
Perhaps, it’s time Ms. De penned a novella on the state of Indian sport and its heroes (and heroines) rather than her much-beloved Bollywood which conversely draws significant inspiration (and box-office success) from the annals of Indian sport in recent times.
The first lady of the Reliance group was voted in as an individual member in Rio on Thursday polling 92.2% valid votes among eight candidates.
What does being an individual member entail?
The Olympic website states:
“The IOC members, natural persons, are representatives of the IOC in their respective countries, and not their country’s delegate within the IOC. As stated in the Olympic Charter: ‘Members of the IOC represent and promote the interests of the IOC and of the Olympic Movement in their countries and in the organisations of the Olympic Movement in which they serve.’”
So it’s not really a victory for the nation per se—if one wants to nitpick—but actually a shrewd move both by Nita Ambani and the Olympic Committee.
Evidently the committee considers India to be an important cog in its scheme of matters in years to come.
And Nita Ambani gains some legitimacy in the eyes of her numerous detractors and critics who consider her a privileged interloper in the world of Indian sport—not that she cares.
“I am truly humbled and overwhelmed to be elected by the IOC. This is a recognition of the growing importance of India in the world stage and a recognition for Indian women.
I have always believed in the power of sport to shape our youth. I believe that sports brings together communities, cultures, and generations has the power to unify and unite people. I look forward to spreading the spirit of Olympics and sports across our nation.
I’m working really with multi-sports in India. We want to encourage many other games besides cricket in India like football and basketball and let children be exposed to all kinds of games. So I’m looking forward to building a movement in sports for children in India.’’
She is the only current active Indian member in the IOC and the first Indian woman.
The IOC has 90 members, 36 honorary members and 1 honour member.
Honorary members are usually former members.
Dr. Henry Kissinger is the only honour member of the Committee.
“Love for religion should come from within and stay there. My faith is between me and my God. I think the more we keep religion out of education, sports and politics, the better.”
—Maria Toorpakai Wazir, Pakistan’s No. 1 woman squash player.