We may or may not win medals but embarrassment over petty issues keeps dogging India at mega events. Perhaps, there should be lessons on etiquette for Indian officials. In Glasgow, during the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Indian Olympic Association secretary general Rajeev Mehta was arrested for drunken driving. At the grandest of sporting spectacles in Rio, our sports minister Vijay Goel’s cronies tried to behave aggressively and were reprimanded by the Organising Committee through a very strong letter. It even threatened to withdraw their accreditation.
Ministers and their cronies in India may believe they are above the rules but in a place like Brazil, where people don’t even break the queue, rules are sacrosanct. The accreditation card in every Games is your identity that gives you certain privileges. Misusing any of these privileges attracts a penalty. The minister had no business to enter the field of play without the permission of the organisers. If he doesn’t have the requisite accreditation, he cannot enter. If the minister is to be believed, he obliged when he was asked not to enter. Still, one wonders what the necessity was, to meet the players there. He can meet them wherever and whenever he wants to, back in India. If not for a photo-opportunity and the short-lived publicity of being seen on TV, there seems to be no valid reason.
He is in Rio ostensibly to personally look into the needs of athletes and the conditions they live in at the Games Village. If he was so fastidious, he would have helped the boxers print the country’s name on their vests. The minister should also have visited the camps in India where our athletes train. Then only will he get the real picture. Why go all the way to Olympics where athletes’ sole aim is to participate? Isn’t this also a distraction for the players? Perhaps, it would be prudent if he fixes impediments back here in India than go all the way to Rio.