India’s emerging power and future Olympics

1903

By Oken Jeet Sandham

New Delhi, though not seen producing good sportspersons in spite of being second largest populated country in the world, has courage to host this XIX Commonwealth Games 2010. This mega sporting event will be held from October 3 to 14, 2010 at Delhi.

Initial estimation of the Games was Rs 11,494 crore or US$ 2.5 billion. They commented that the 2010 CWG would be the most expensive CWG ever, being larger than previous Games in Melbourne 2006 (Appx US$1.1 billion). But according to the report given to the media, Rs 77,000 crore has already been spent so far till date.

In the last two months, unprecedented crisis of the mismanagement, corruption, sub-standard construction of sports infrastructures, filthy and uninhabitable Games Village, etc have gripped the whole nation. The collapsing of foot over bridge and falling down of ceiling in the boxing stadium have also drawn the world-wide attention. The leaders of the Organizing Committee have to run for cover from the barrage of the media attacks and also verbal fire from the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh.

Delhi has witnessed numerous problems for quite some time as it had to meet the deadline set for completion of all the necessary infrastructures with modern facilities, and also gives a complete overhaul to the capital face. It is actually a mess and chaotic situation in Delhi. Diversion of traffics, rerouting of routes, and heavy deployment of security personnel in the national capital have given unprecedented problems to the commuters, citizens, businessmen, etc. It is a nightmare for the new comers in the city.

It is actually a herculean task for Delhi to host this mega sporting event, needing thousands of manpower, machineries, technicians, designers, architectures with almost all the materials imported. Many of the contractors were foreign-based.

I was happy when the Prime Minister dedicated the magnificent New Indira Gandhi International Airport at Delhi on July 3. I was thrilled at seeing the modern architecture of this airport which is the eighth largest airport in the world.  It is a pride for the nation and certainly, foreign teams landing at this airport must be saying “wow.” It cost nearly US$ 3 billion and it was completed in a record 3-year time.

India is seen by the world community as emerging global power. The other day, an US official report reported that India is the third most powerful nation in the world after the US and China. Interestingly, India and China is competing each other in every field. And since China hosted successfully 2008Beijing Olympic Games, India would give its best to ensure that the Games at Delhi is a grand success.

Like India, China too drew flaks from around the world prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Even many organizations cautioned not to venture out in taking part in Beijing Olympic Games as there were chances of terrorist attacks. Many also had reservations on China’s policy of supporting countries like North Korea, Zimbabwe, Myanmar and Sudan because they are repressive regimes. There were also allegations that there were heavy pollution in both the city of Beijing and in the neighboring areas and even many agencies asked countries to boycott the Games. They also said there would be violent disruption from pro-Tibetan protesters, and religious persecutions.

China came down heavily on their media not to report many things which would hamper the progress of the Games and discourage participating countries. In the lead-up to the Olympics, the Chinese government allegedly issued guideline to the local media for their reporting during the Games: most political issues not directly related to the games were to be downplayed; topics such as pro-Tibetan independence and East Turkestan movements were not to be reported on, as were food safety issues such as “cancer-causing mineral water.” As the 2008 Chinese milk scandal broke in September 2008, there was widespread speculation that China’s desire for a perfect Games may have a factor contributing towards the delayed recall of contaminated infant formula.

On the contrary, India being the largest democratic country in the world, has given so much leverage to the media including foreign ones. Even at times, they were making mockery of many leaders of the Organizing Committee in the event of crisis after crisis. Even some media houses have conducted poll at this crucial hour while foreign teams started coming in adversely affecting the environment in the capital, Games Village and country’s image worldwide. Yet, the media enjoy still freedom in this country.

Teams are coming in the midst of threats by some renowned international players pulling out alleging the Games Village is not safe for their health. But it is happy to hear encouraging words at this juncture from the mouth of IOC President Mr Jacques Rogge.  In an interview on Friday, Mr Rogge said, “Let’s give them (India) the chance to prove they can stage good games. It would be with a last-ditch effort and it probably would be costly, but let’s hope they can fulfill that.”

Rogge said that he hopes India can come through, just as Greek organizers overcame “doomsday scenarios” to stage the successful 2004 Athens Olympics despite severe construction delays and political wrangling. “Hopefully the Indians can pull out a last-ditch effort like the Greeks have done,” he said.

He also asserted that India’s potential for hosting future Olympics should not be written off before giving embattled New Delhi organizers a chance to pull off the Commonwealth Games with a “last-ditch” effort.

Backing fully New Delhi, the IOC chief refused to judge New Delhi’s strength without seeing the Games. He even hoped that New Delhi’s planning to host 2020 Olympic Games could not be ruled out. One should not speculate without seeing reality. Similar sentiments were also echoed by Commonwealth Games Federation Chief Mike Fennell.

Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates’s remark that India should never have been awarded the Commonwealth Games is unwarranted. It is an insult any way.

The success of the Games at Delhi means 2020 Olympic Games coming in India. By then, what former Union Sports Minister Mani Shanker Aier said would prove “right.”

The Commonwealth Games, an Olympic-style multi-sports event, will have more than 7,000 athletes from 71 countries and territories. India will finally pull through and have enough experience of handling such a mega sporting event which they never had in the past. The success of this mega sporting event would push India’s image worldwide and have a say the right to host future “Olympic” in the country.

Let us hope India host 2020 Olympic Games and by the time, many sports personalities of the northeast and lovers would have a chance to witness what an “Olympic Games” is all about. Otherwise only top politicians (read sports ministers and chief ministers) from the region had chances to witness such events under the pretext of promoting sports in the region.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. There is a lack of irony in the splitting that people indulge themselves in. The contradictions of India. They can both be an example to western capitalists in getting a large project like the Airport on time on spec and within budget of several billion USD. At the same time spend ten times that amount on a colourful opening day parade and a broken bridge and all people really say oh look another gold medal how shiney.

    Do people believe that Chinese never lie, they are immune to religious genocide, ok they invaded Tibet but it’s not as bad as people make out, and yep they did invent ice-cream, paper and the printing press long before these were known in the West. It is embarrassingly offensive for a foreigner to witness the petty bigotry and racism casually expressed by middle class educated Indians.

    Frankly it’s a little depressing. But I remind myself that I can only be that deeply affected by my own shadow, my own darkness. When I build the peace ashram with and for Irom Sharmila, and I hope she will agree, the first battle is to overcome my own fears and prejudices to become peace. Handling guntoting insurgents or paramilitaries, is relatively easy.

    I am off to another Zen retreat. It’s Japanese but I’d entertain Taoist retreat masters at the Peace Ashram or talks by leading communist theorists. By listening to the Other we can better come to terms with ourselves. Well that’s the plan.

    I am sure I have misrepresented everyone’s views. I just think it might be more profitable to work on myself over the next few days coz I really don’t feel I will influence anyone else. May you all be happy and discover the causes of happiness.

  2. Although I welcome lucidity’s opinion, the whole concept appears to be anti-Indian as nowhere has he had any point appreciating the hard working of India to host this multi-sport games in our soil. China has lot of insurgent problems and internal turmoils which they sealed from being exposed. We all know it is china that is fomenting trouble in India and even the so-called insurgency that we all hate is the product of them. Anyone talking something against their president or prime minister means he or she is behind the bar. we have seen how they suppressed students’ movement and killed thousands. China is notorious for human rights violations and nobody can question it. But in India, one can still question the authority or criticize any leaders–be it PM or President or any minister, you still have freedom. why not we contribute towards making India capable of hosting future Olympic Games instead of underestimating them. If India succeeds, we are there.

    • @jasbeer:
      hmmmmm! interesting way of interpreting things and stuff. typical indian trait. inherent quality. lol. not your mistake though…. appreciating China or speaking truth doesn’t mean i am anti-indian. honestly, i was bummered…. i understand the circumstances and insecurity surrounding an indian mindset. now, let’s look at a broader spectrum – the REALITY of things.

      #1. now you approve of the fact that despite all the HARD WORK deadlines set for various developmental projects for CWG (delhi) were never met. this is ample proof of india’s lack of resources and incapability of executing project works inspite of your top brass having exposure to the global players.
      no offence, but monkeys will evolve into full human beings in another million year.

      #2. another typical behavior – blaming China for all india’s never ending woes which include various incorrigible problems and insurgency.
      the other day i went on record making a satirical statement at my office – “may be kalmadi, his cohorts and indian media are trying to find a way to blame China for this EPIC mess called CWG delhi”… 😉

      #3. india cannot lecture China on Human Rights. india is not US. even US is not fit to do the job. everyone knows it’s the US which has no respect for Human Rights when it comes to any country which is non-US. remember Vietnam war? millions and millions of civilians were murdered, millions of gallons of “Agent Orange” poured onto the fields the resultant of which has maimed and genetically dismembered thousands of Vietnamese. remember when 2 atom bombs were dropped in Japan?. remember their marines and army in uniform plucking out nails from arab civilians, etc.
      remember the infamous OPIUM WAR waged against the Chinese by the west? remember MALOM MASSACRE? RIMS MASSACRE? HEIRANGOITHONG MASSACRE? OINAM MASSACRE? THANGJAM MANORAMA RAPE? and varius other MASSACRES? these aren’t isolated incidents, babe!

      #4. india KILLS SOFTLY anyone who says the truth. indians assasinate someone’s character and career just because he looks Chinese. this is even more painful than the Chinese execution of the proven-culprits.

      now that we have gone a bit off track, i would reiterate my view that india is not fit enough to be compared with China.
      we shouldn’t display typical indian nationalism while dealing with things and stuff.
      let’s take strong initiative and take charge of india.
      we have to form the decision making body. we have to become stronger……..

  3. firstly and honestly, let’s take my opinion sportingly.
    yes, i appreciate your dream. but that’s plain wishful thinking.
    there’s no possibility of comparing China with India. rather compare india with pakistan or bangladesh where there’s rampant racism and blatant corruption and standards on all fronts are the lowest.
    if there is one instance of ‘food poisoning’ or ‘a milk scandal’ in China, there are thousands of such cases (preferably unreported by the ‘responsible’ indian media) in india. one has to accept facts rather than taking solace in wishful thinking.
    the reason why the western media always come down heavily is only for the fact that China prefers to wear a ‘provocative’ RED trousers when the US wants it to wear a CAMOUFLAGE/CHAMELEON type of skin. China’s more advanced than you think or believe it to be.
    visit there and take a reality check. i understand the handicap in one’s thinking when you are excessively exposed to ‘DEMOCRATIC’ lies.
    unlike india, China never witnessed and never will witness any religious GENOCIDE. they have never allowed any major terroristic attacks from aryan/arab countries. the ‘tibetan’ issue has been hyped by the western and indian media and blown out of proportion.
    there is no question of the Chinese government to downplay the ‘milk scandal’ as they (the government) are the ones who exposed it. the reaction of the Chinese netizens in CNN website is indicative of the fact that the common Chinese civlian is tired of the anti-Chinse western and indian designs.
    google Beijing olympics related ‘tibetan’ riots in CNN and you’ll get to know the truth and the many LIES of CNN.
    the Chinese media doesn’t LIE.

  4. I do support the idea of Sri Oken Jeet Sandham that India should be able to bid future Olympic Games. One should not presume India’s strength while seeing volleys of criticism from media and other countries. Chairman of Organizing Committee of Commonwealth Games XIX Sri Suresh Kalmadi rightly said in CNNIBN that Western hands were suspected to see India fail hosting the Commonwealth Games successfully. When we love so much of the sports and particularly the people of the region are normally known for their supremacy in sports. It will be a golden opportunity for them if such Games are coming to our country in future. I am sure India will get more Gold Medals if the Games is held in out soil. We must fight to get future Olympic Games in India.

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