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Indian viewers deserve better

Only the other day, Doordarshan’s presenter for its London Olympics coverage boasted about the channel being able to provide all-day action from the Games. When it mattered the most — Air Rifle shooter Gagan Narang’s quest for the country’s first medal at this Olympics — Doordarshan failed to catch the qualification action. So did ESPN and Star Sports, channels that have earned reputation over the years.

Indian viewers also missed out on watching badminton gold medal hope Saina Nehwal’s opening victory and couldn’t watch boxer Jai Bhagwan raising his hands in delight following his bout.

Channels getting flak for not satisfying their sporting viewers is not new. Way back in 1970, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation copped a lot of criticism because they went into a newsbreak when Australia batsman Greg Chappell, the former India coach, was on the verge of becoming a centurion on Test debut. It’s just that, in India, television goof-ups are not as few and far between.

Doordarshan has been consistent in their sporting sins of omission.

Overall, the quality of sports broadcasting has improved tremendously over the years. That’s why it is all the more difficult to digest ESPN and Star Sports’ ‘blunder’.

While the average Indian sports lover doesn’t have much reason to complain these days because he gets his share of sporting dope in terms of news and live coverage, it is annoying when they go into ad breaks as soon as a four is hit or a wicket taken.

Sure, advertisements are vital for the financial health of the channel, but it shouldn’t take away the pleasure and thrill aspect for the viewer in any way.

It is hoped that Monday’s gaffe is one-off as far as this year’s Olympics are concerned. Any more will be terribly unfair to a sporting nation already starved of winners. 

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