Olympics 2016: Sulking Leander Paes, silent Bopanna, chairless hockey team; welcome to Rio - Firstpost

Olympics 2016: Sulking Leander Paes, silent Bopanna, chairless hockey team; welcome to Rio

Does Usain Bolt share a room at the Olympics village? Does Michael Phelps, Novak Djokovic, or any of the other stars? Didn't India’s chef de mission, Rakesh Gupta, know that Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna don't get along, and that they are being forced to play doubles tennis together, as if at gun point? At least get them separate rooms.

Wasn't Leander told about his accommodation arrangements in advance, so that he did not have to fetch up in Rio and then whine about it? Considering his seniority, you would think he at least deserved some privacy.

How many of India's non-playing, no-sporting, non-achieving officials share rooms? See that crushed little worm wriggling in the dust, that's the Olympic spirit.

Leander Paes is facing accomodation issues in Rio Olympics. Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

I wouldn't want to share a room with someone I cannot stand, but surely we don't have to go all that way to Rio to morally lose our compass, even before we get on the court. What are they going to do when the duo play together? Instead of the traditional hand punch after each point, which doubles players engage in, the two will kiss the air like those powdered socialites. Puch puch. It makes for such a dismal off-court performance.

And now, we have a bedroom problem. Common sense dictates that Leander and Rohan should have been given separate accommodation, and thereby some breathing space.

On the other hand, if you cannot stay together then don't play together; take the next flight back home because putting things right after the genie has escaped the bottle has vitiated the atmosphere already.

You can make a case for or against Leander, but the officials should have had the foresight to figure it out.

And to make matters worse, the Indian hockey team has no furniture, so they are sleeping on bean bags; and there is no table, no chair, no TV. Empty rooms. What were our rosette wearing officials doing? Don't we have representation that goes to the venue earlier and ensures that things are fine?

The Rio Olympics have become a hotspot indeed, one that the world is expecting to cool down. It's rather like the opening night of a play. There is utter chaos and then things just fall into place and the curtain goes up and everyone knows their lines and the show goes on. Or so we hope. Though it has been an uphill battle all the way till now.

Indeed, there have been several unusual issues — not least of them is the Zika problem, and the fact that it is a disease that even the common mosquito can carry. Close on that fear was the contaminated water in the pools and facilities for the water sports. Unfinished rooms and facilities in the Games Village have also teed off some of the teams.

Rio is trying to put its best foot forward, and despite its political crisis — the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff — adding to the murky mix, odds are that the spectacle will be memorable for all the good things. The only good reason, then, to stay up late and lose sleep is to witness a good start.

The one factor that could detract from the "fun" city, and the carnival atmosphere which Rio is famous for, is the street gangs and the crime. We can only hope that the authorities have ensured the safety of the visitors and put the gangs on notice. Already, a Chinese athlete has been robbed, and they have flown in their own cops from China to guard their team members.

On this canvas, the general financial recession is not helping either, and the difference between success and failure in the next fortnight will depend on how well the organisation has been handled, and how all contingencies have been planned for.

If the weather turns foul, the fear of infrastructure grinding to a halt is also pretty worrying; but history has shown that most extravaganzas have such opening night jitters, and the enthusiasm of the people and the presence of the athletes usually carries the day.

And that is indeed the big hurdle. Rio’s population is less than excited about these games, and if the people do not show up things could become a bit dull.

For the sake of the five-coloured rings and the grandeur of the Olympics, here is wishing Rio the best of luck.

Now if only we can overcome the bedroom farce. Tennis, anyone?

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