by Amit Sharma
Can India ever excel in bulk during Olympics?
The answer is dismal no.
The rampant corruption duly supported by the stakeholders thrives and flourish.Â As a normal citizen, itâ€™s frustrating to know that such a system exist and one can do nothing about it.Â Itâ€™s difficult to bypass it. The system has been created and nurtured for many years. It is not merely a perception but a reality which we see in our routine lives and keep mum. Is it the right thing to do?
Sports and sports officials are no exception barring a minuscule upright who are generally sidelined by the majority. During selection process for participation at National and State level competitionâ€™s and to an extent at youth level also, the age enclosures are jumped at an alarming rate from higher to lower for higher awards and certifications.Â As the job scarcity grows exponentially with the rising population, aspiring parents in connivance with overzealous coaches for financial gains and schools/ colleges for popularity/profits indulge in fudging age related documents due to lack of availability of scientific methods of age determination.
Thus, during competitions, verification through Aadhar Card is not a foolproof arrangement, as on most of the occasion, the sportsman carry an old printout of the same which is not reflective of the present physical appearance of his, as this age proof document has not been updated. There are other Aadhar related frauds in which the sportsperson and their wards indulge for altering their age to low.
The athletes do not undergo dope tests during the competitions. Administration of performance enhancers and steroids is rampant in the country by the ones who can afford it. The athletes are exposed to dope tests only when they represent India.
How defaulters can be spotted?
Itâ€™s very easy to spot the defaulters by having a hard look at them. Within a lineup of under 14 yearâ€™s competition, one suddenly spots a full grown up bearded boy or in under 17 years competition, one finds an extremely well six packs chiseled out body.
The higher level sports professionals who conduct their respective sports competitions have been in their position of power for donkey years. In most cases, they had not played the game or the sport even once. They remain in close proximity of the ruling bosses and enjoy their blessings. They receive budgets for conducting district, state and national level competitions. They also run their private academies and promote only those sportsman who train in with them. They charge approximately Rupees 25,000/-per year from each student, and generally 100 students are enrolled with them.
During the competition, the winners in respective sports including individual event are more or less decided by these corrupt stakeholders. Any deviated result is met with disdain and on most of the occasions this odd winner is disqualified or given a second or a third prize by manipulating the timings or doing things of similar nature. There are reported instances wherein the result is reversed after announcement of the winner. This break many golden hearts. These professionals have mastered this process and they run their private business by having their team of coaches and students in each district. The system is well established and is required to be broken for talent to move out globally and produce sportsmen of repute.
What should one do on spotting doubtful participants?
Doubtful sportsmen are recommended to be subjected toÂ scientific methods of age determination. One should lodge an official protest in writing within stipulated time and ask for the receipt of the fees submitted for the protest. It is existing at Rs 500/-as of now. Sporting system does not believe in giving you the receipt. At times they will not accept your protest. Please insist and endorse in the application that you have paid the money for the protest. The office bearers will however give you a reply which will be at a tangent to the observation raised by you and will not answer your query. For example, you have raised an objection to verify the age of three doubtful persons.
The process involved is to first verify the Aadhar card itself for its authenticity. It also involves, to call the doubtful participants and match their physical appearance with the photo in the Aadhar card and asking for other identity documents such as birth certificate. No such process takes place and a reply is given to you within minutes as â€œwe have checked the school records and found everything in orderâ€�. Thus,Â the party which may indulge in falsification of identity documents now becomes a stakeholder in verification. Sham of a procedure. The reply given to you will be given in a language you will not understand and you will be forced to sign the office copy as â€œreceivedâ€�. Your reluctance will be dealt with psychological pressure that if you will not follow the set precedent, your child will be barred to participate in future. Pressure will also come from your coaches at District level and below for not raising the observation as the main organiser of the event is the national sporting secretary who will ruin your wards carrier and not let him progress.
The above categories of sportsmen excel till national level or maybe till youth level,Â getting jobs through sporting certification acquired by fraudulent practices, as the government policies provide concessions to sportsmen in certain type of jobs. In short term, these sportsmen garner accolades for their families, enhancing the professional carriers of their coaches and bring fame for the institutions in which they study. This industry is thriving and is growing at a fast pace. It is pure economics.
The sportsmen of such kind will produce students who will also indulge in similar kind of foul play. This cycle is likely to continue till arrested.
The fraudulent sportsmen however fail to make a mark at the international level where the age no longer remains the criteria for participation and the dope tests are stringent.Â Thus, the darlings at national level propelled by the corrupt, fail miserably at international level in men/ women category. As also, the conversion rate of medals from youth to men category is dismal. This is a sporting wastage which a developing country like India cannot afford in a long run.
From grass root level, the scientific processes should be allowed to take a lead if we are planning to challenge the mighty three-four sporting nations.
What is lost in the process?
The honest and talented sportsmen, who were ready to toil hard for long and would have paid rich dividends, if trusted and not subdued by the cheaters. They were dissuaded by the towering performance of their peers who had exploited the loopholes in the system during their development; age groups 11 to 21 years. This poor sportsman having been heartbroken and cheated, left the sports midway due to his inability to match the some others who were supported by these leeches. I am sanguine that in an honest sporting country the corrupt officials would have been considered as defaulters and removed from their portfolios and punished for their crimes.
Therefore, for me itâ€™s still not Citus Altus Fortius for Indian Sports yet. Anything you can do, I can do better is not the essence by which the sports administration is governed here, resulting in the spirit of sports being the ultimate looser. Some quick result oriented long standing interventions are urgently needed to alleviate corrupt practices in Indian sports.
It is rightly said that the character of person can be judged by the way he plays the sport. The Indian sports fraternity by promoting fraudulent practices is not supporting the sports correctly. George Sheehan summarised the importance of sports when he remarked â€œ Sport is a theatre where sinner can turn saint and a common man become an uncommon hero, where the past and the future can fuse with the present.Â Sport is singularly able to give us peak experiences where we feel completely one with the world and transcend all conflicts as we finally become our own potential.â€�
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Source: Matchday Frolics