What really is ailing our sports.  The reports that keep pouring, day in and day out, are not very flattering.  Sport is supposed to be a bonding factor that erases all frictions. In fact we ask people to be sporting and take things in the right spirit. Sports activities build bridges between nations but it is not so within the country  -  it creates 'ridges'.

Unfortunately, things are changing and the discipline that was associated with it. The blame must be shared by both, the administrators as well as the players for bringing the entire sport into disrepute.

Take the latest case of the Commonwealth Games controversy.  Everybody knows that the pace of work in preparation for the Commonwealth Games is far from satisfactory Even the Delhi Chief Minister had expressed apprehensions and  said 'I am worried'.  These words speak of the reality as it exists.  The Chairman of the Organizing Committee - Suresh Kalmadi does not think so.  Actually he should have accepted the responsibility and if any one needs to go, it is probably him.  If the CEO  Mike Hooper appointed by the Commonwealth Games Federation [CGF] President  Mike Fennel speaks the truth, it naturally hurts and that is where the 'egos' come into play.  Kalmadi wants the CEO to be shunted out but the CGF is not likely to oblige and if they stick to their guns, where does Kalmadi go.  Will he gracefully walk out and let somebody else take over. It looks like Kalmadi has some allergy when it comes to 'Mikes' possibly.

On the weight lifting front, the less said the better.  Initially, we had three lifters who had failed the dope test carried out by the WADA.  Then these figures double to six plus which is a national shame for which the entire lot of administrators in the Indian Weightlifting Federation [IWF]should be eased out.  The Government must step in and stem the rot.  It is the question of national pride and prestige.  Dope failure is not a new thing in weight lifting. The administrators have either failed in their duty to ensure 'no use of banned substance' or have unwittingly [hopefully] allowed things to go out of hand by looking the other way. The end result is that the Indian weight-lifting contingents may be barred from competition and if that is done, nothing could be worse.  Before that happens the Government should supersede the IWF and take over the administration.

The Government did intervene in the case of Indian Hockey Federation when Gill was relieved.  Though it is not good for Sports if the Government has to step in but if the Administrators are irresponsible, such intervention is not only inevitable but also welcome.

About cricket, the less said the better.  What was once a gentleman's game has been turned into a tamasha of sorts.  There is more commerce than sports and the spectators are fed with unending dose of what the late ASFT [Talyarkhan] preferred to call 'pajama cricket' - Kerry Packer brand of cricket.  A Senior functionary of the BCCI was vocal in his comment when he said that the younger generation is not disturbed when India loses  - obvious reference to the big money that clubs offer.  He should know that the big money was initiated by the Board itself  [a Modi enterprise] and there is no point in grumbling.  If a child gets  thousands as pocket money, surely the father cannot complain if the son is getting detached from the home. As if IPL is not enough, there are any amount of other Championships - all for the love of money and not the game. Now we are talking about domestic IPL.

The board suddenly finds that the bowling and fielding coaches are useless and they are to be dropped like hot potatoes.  Surely there can be a little grace in such things.  They are not some daily wage workers whom you drop through a tersely worded 'one liner'. You could have spoken to them and explained your view point. Thereafter the 'one liner' could have been released.  The two coaches are past cricketers who brought glory to the country [ one of them was the member of the World Cup Winning team ].

The cricket administrators sitting on billions  tend to treat the players and the coaches with scant respect. They seem to forget that without the cricketers, the Board could not have made that money.  Rahul Dravid is the latest victim. There is an element of arrogance when the Board officials talk. Rajiv Sukhla said the two coaches were not under contract and that others must be given an opportunity.  Were they changed to give others a chance or because they were not effective enough [ a few months back they were put on the pedestal though]. Even those with contracts were treated no better. This arrogance is seen while dealing with ICC as well and no wonder other members of that august body feel that Indian is throwing its weight around.  The case of 'where-abouts' clause in the WADA documents in a case in point.

The Cricketers too are drawing inspiration from the administrators and some of them get into unnecessary squabbles  on field so much so that the Board had to issue a final warning to Sreesanth who is supposed to be playing the gentleman's game. Board officials also are fighting like in Rajasthan but who will give them a FINAL warning ?


The elections, once again, saw dismal participation by the India's financial capital.  Some intellectuals feel that candidates are no good. Then why don't these worthies stand for elections themselves and change the system instead of being arm chair critics.

Giving people holiday does not ensure greater participation as this election has shown.  If fact, Holidays give an opportunity for people to take a day or two off and pack their bags for a long weekend. If we want to see better voting, the first thing to do is to STOP  holidays.  It does not take more than one hour to complete the process and since it starts as early as 7.00 a m, it is not at all difficult. People can come late to work after voting.

One of the Christian contestants - a Rights activist was embroiled in an avoidable controversy concerning the alleged misuse of the Archbishop's appeal to vote.  Of course, it was stoutly denied but it was certainly in bad taste and the damage was done.

Ironically, a  volunteer of the same candidate visited homes of voters on the polling day ostensibly to remind people to cast their votes - a very noble exercise indeed.  Surprisingly, he was FLASHING the leaflet of the candidate when he was 'exhorting' voters to exercise their franchise which I thought was  outright wrong and conveyed it to him in no uncertain terms. The overenthusiastic volunteer made a quick get-away with an apology. I have nothing against the said candidate and hope he wins.

People place a lot of faith in Rights Activists but they must ensure that they get elected by adopting the 'right' approach which will be a precursor for his  attitude as and when he occupies that high office as the People's representative.