India’s 2004 Olympic silver medallist Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore is livid over reports that he failed a dope test before the 2004 Olympics after which he was then cleared by International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) to compete in.
Rathore felt the reopening of the issue was the handiwork of officials of the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) who didn’t want him to contest its elections in April.
Whether Rathore is right or wrong, it is well established that sports officials feel insecure as soon as a sporting personality decides to walk the administrative path. Rathore is thus not the first sports personality to be blocked. The moot question is, why has this controversy emerged nine years since Rathore claimed India’s then best individual result since Independence.
Credible officials will always look at the bigger picture while welcoming practitioners of the sport into the administrative ring. The corrupt will always be wary.
In 2011, former India cricket captain Dilip Vengsarkar had enough of support on the surface to head the Mumbai Cricket Association. But he was made to bite the dust by voters. Recently, former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd didn’t garner enough support to head the West Indies board.
Is there a way out for former champions who want to get into administration? Yes, if people with the right to vote are truly concerned and yearn for a better-run sport. No, if the voters don’t want change and let malpractices continue.
Sports officials the world over are quite a breed. They can stonewall men of great integrity and intension.