We all know that Sarita Devi And Devendro Singh deserved better. We all know they deserved to be in the final/semi-final and were betrayed by the decisions of the bumbling judges. We all also know that the rules stated that the decision of the judges was final -- it could not be appealed against.
But what we did not know is that while Sarita Devi and her husband were crying their hearts out -- the Indian officials were looking to find the quickest way to exit. Their strategy seems to be simple: "Exit at the first sign of trouble."
So really in the aftermath of the 'fixing' incident, there is just one question that really needs to be asked: Can the officials who refused to help Sarita or Devendro be suspended pending an inquiry? Can they be sacked if found to have shirked their duties? Can they be banned from going on any such 'vacation' again?
The IOA was more than happy to pay a $10,000 fine when they withdrew the rugby team but they couldn't cough up the $500 dollars to help a deserving athlete mount an appeal against a clearly wrong decision.
Instead of making their way to the exit, the officials first and only duty would have been to back up the athlete... to ensure that the athlete's appeal was heard by the right people -- to even plan out a future course of action if needed.
The athletes job is to go out and give his/her absolute best in competition. The officials job is to ensure that all the logistics and other requests are taken care of. So when an official goes missing in their time of need, what is one supposed to make of it?
These are also the same officials who didn't bat an eyelid as the international boxing association banned the Indian Boxing Association association. The same officials who unfairly denied Mary Kom -- according to the boxer herself -- a place in the Commonwealth Games contingent. The same officials who had no issue as Indian boxers were forced compete under the AIBA flag. It's pitiful that these same fellows will now be allowed to go scot free.
They will be walk away into the sunset, biding their time for another vacation (most probably Rio 2016 and other smaller events) where they will watch sports, live the good life and go missing when athletes really need them. No wonder their tribe continues to grow even as sports in India continues to suffer. If the sports minister really wants to help Indian sport, he needs to help get rid of this babudom.
Originally, the Indian Olympic Association had sent a jumbo list of 662 athletes and 280 coaches and support staff, totaling 942, from 35 disciplines. But the whittled-down version saw the the total number of participants being pruned to 679 including 516 athletes and 163 coaches and support staff.
Ask anyone who has ever tried to play sport in this country and they will all say that their biggest bug bear has always been officialdom. Officials who don't know the sports, officials who deal in favours, officials who need to be kept happy -- so much so that sport in the early years seems to be all about the official.
Turns out that even at the higher level few things change -- if anything, it only seems to get worse. We should be just feeling sorry for Sarita, we should be ensuring that the official gets a bollocking that he remembers for the rest of his life. It won't get Sarita a chance at a gold medal but at least it might ensure that some other athlete will get the help he/she deserve.
Updated Date: Oct 01, 2014 12:47:05 IST