We don’t have a Bolt, we have world-beating administrators

The easy one. Who is the fastest man on the planet? Keep aside lab theories, hands down it is Usain Bolt of Jamaica.

Now, the tough one. Who is the president of the Jamaican Athletics Administrative Association? Dr Warren Blake.

Does it ring a bell? Great if it does, perfectly fine if it does not. It is Bolt and his rivalry with the other Blake (fellow sprinter Yohan), the fan is interested in.

No disrespect Dr Blake. You are doing something right and can bask in the administrative glow of the success of your amazing Bolt and other accomplished athletes.

The same, though, cannot be said of Indian sports administrators. They just refuse to yield centre stage to our sportspersons.

The associations and administrators make as much news, and at times more, as our players. And, more often than not, the people who should be behind the scenes hit the headlines for the wrong reasons.

Sample a few top cherries from August:

(a) The International Olympic Committee warned the Indian Olympic Association it must prevent tainted officials from holding posts in future if it wants to overturn its current suspension.

(b) Four young Indian shuttlers were not included in the badminton draw of the Youth Asian Games in Nanjing, China, as the Badminton Association of India had sent late entries.

(c) More than 20 Indian athletes were thrown out of the games in Nanjing for being overage. The sports ministry has duly launched an inquiry.

(d) Row over the recommendations for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award and the Arjuna Award has prevented the sports ministry from releasing the official list of awardees

(e) The latest: National Sports Day (marking hockey legend Dhyan Chand’s birth anniversary) will not be held on August 29, but two days later. The official reason: Sports minister is not available on August 29. What sports fans, like yours truly, suspect: The matter mentioned in point (d) may have played a role.

Our administrative blunders, warts and all, are on display. Like it or not, this is always the way we have been.

A sports maxim goes, it is hard to reach the top, but even harder to stay there. This does not apply to our sports mandarins, some of whom are sitting pretty at the top for decades.

It will only be the generous fan who will credit the few true global successes we have had to administrators and our system. Disagree? Take up this debate with India’s lone individual Olympic gold winner, shooter Abhinav Bindra.

Now, a line on cricket: Even the name of the organisation in charge of the game in India has “Control” in it.

Line over.

Keep playing.


Ipsit Mohapatra

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