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PLAYING POLITICS OVER THE ATHLETE’S SWEAT

PLAYING POLITICS OVER THE ATHLETE’S SWEAT

“Success has many fathers, but failure is orphan”

Indeed, if something goes well, many would come forward to claim that they contributed to the effort. They self-trumpet that they were part of the success. But, if the things go wrong, those same people will hardly be there even to offer their sympathies.

Thus, a success has many fathers while the failure becomes an orphan.

This axiom fits aptly to the claims over PV Sindhu’s success by the Chief Ministers of two Telugu states.

Well, Sindhu might have battled it over successfully in Rio Olympics, but she is now being dragged into an equally tough, although bizarre, battle, of course, off the sporting court.

It’s “Pol(y) impics” for Sindhu in both the Telugu states.

The Chief Ministers of two Telugu states that are drawing swords on most issues after a bitter bifurcation in 2014, are now seeing red over the shuttler.

Both claim ownership over Sindhu, calling her “mana ammayi” (our girl).

It’s hypocritical to frame an argument, the way both the Chief Ministers were doing, on the shoulders of victory.

If a female athlete needs to accomplish extraordinary tasks to be acknowledged as ‘Mana Ammayi”(our girl), then what status does she enjoy before that?

The hypocrisy of our political class could be seen from the fact that like many politicians of their ilk both these Chief Ministers also remained silent when an injury ended Vinesh Pogat’s Olympic wrestling campaign. They did not feel any reasons to extend their sympathies as she did not win something to be recognised as “our daughter/India’s daughter.

Thus, Vinesh Pogat is a case of “Failure” which has no fathers.

The political battle over Sindhu’s success has once again brought to light the notion that a woman needs to achieve something extraordinary to justify her existence or to be recognized as “Our girl”.

The success of P.V. Sindhu is remarkable because she stands out in an oppressive society for women; her battle is also against a disheartening history in sport for the country.

The battle in the face of adversity is a romantic metaphor for the struggles women have to face in every sphere of life in India. The limits placed on them by patriarchal notions serve to distance them from the sporting arena.

This is why it is heartening to see Sindhu respond with a never-say-die attitude. A lesson in fortitude.

But it would be advisable to exercise scepticism in light of her success. We don’t have any evidence to suggest that sporting victories can cause large-change social transformations.

This is why there is a need to be responsible in the aftermath of this success by our netas, instead of trying to claim ownership over Sindhu’s success for mere political gains and indulge in political one-upmanship like the way the CMs of Telugu states indulging to ensure whether Sindhu belongs to ‘Telangana Bidda” or “Andhra Kuthur”.

The job of a responsible Govt., is to create an environment for aspiring Sport men and women by increasing budgetary allocations to International standards and provide requisite sports infrastructure to benefit such aspirants, instead of indulging in false claims of contribution when athletes succeeded and run away from responsibility for their failure.

These medals are not just monoliths that will remind us of what was achieved on-field, but also the need to address how we deal with accomplishments of women in sport.

But then it all happens in the Great Indian Political Circus. Sindhu shouldn’t lose her focus in the bitter tussles. Ignore, and continue practicing in true sportsman spirit.

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