Let not just the Games but the debate begin
The chief says that in these Games India wins 70 medals, while at the Olympics we struggle to win even three
India's Olympic chief Narinder Batra has shot straight from the hip stating that India should pull out of the Commonwealth Games (CWG) permanently because of a paucity of strong competition which makes participation a waste of time and money.
His statement comes in the wake of the Indian Olympic Association threatening to boycott the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England because of the exclusion of shooting in which India won 16 of its 66 medals in the last CWG in Australia. The chief says that in these Games India wins 70 medals, while at the Olympics we struggle to win even three! We must also be alert of the gap between the rest of the world standards and those of the Commonwealth Games.
India aspires to become a multi-sport power and for that, our athletes need to compete with the best, and train with those who will challenge them. It must make administrators and officials debate, whether one agrees or disagrees with him. Some questions that need to be addressed are: Should we send contingents in the disciplines that can challenge us? Like swimming, for instance? Should we send not our cream but those who are being groomed to take over the current champions in our strongest disciplines?
We may need to look at the rewards that are given after Commonwealth Games, though we do root for rewards for athletes. Big-ticket competition is a theatre of its own, giving athletes a taste of what lies in store internationally and we must not forget that in sport the underdog can turn the tables on the most seasoned of champions or the favourites. There are lessons that can be taken away from that. Batra's view though certainly throws open the door to discussion amongst our sporting officials who take these decisions.
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