Cham­pi­ons in chaos

To­wards the end of the year, it was all gloom and doom — whether it was in the for­tunes of the In­dian cricket team or the In­dian Olympic move­ment

Hindustan Times (Patna) - - YEAR REVIEW 2012 - — N Anan­tha­narayan

It was the year when In­dia’s golden gen­er­a­tion of bat­ting fi­nally broke up with the re­tire­ments of Rahul Dravid and Vangipu­rappu Venkata Sai Lax­man. Sachin Ten­dulkar also drew the cur­tains on a 23-year­long ODI ca­reer.

The team were handed a 0-4 Test se­ries rout in Aus­tralia early in the year, a re­peat of what they suf­fered in Eng­land the pre­vi­ous sum­mer.

As the year ends, In­dia’s cricket team is still search­ing for the kind of tal­ent that took them to great heights in all three de­part­ments — bat­ting, spin and pace bowl­ing.

Eng­land left the team, and cap­tain MS Dhoni, with plenty to think about af­ter snatch­ing their first Test se­ries vic­tory in In­dia for 28 years. The first re­verse at home in eight years has left Dhoni’s po­si­tion as cap­tain shaky and it re­mains to be seen if the board at least splits the job.

Hope soared in in­di­vid­ual Olympic sports across dis­ci­plines as the na­tion’s ath­letes ac­counted for a record six-medal haul, although gold eluded In­dia at the Lon­don Olympics.

Wrestler Sushil Ku­mar be­came the first In­dian to win in­di­vid­ual medals in more than one Olympics, while shooter Vi­jay Ku­mar’s sil­ver medal was the best of the lot. Bad­minton ace Saina Ne­hwal and boxer Mary Kom won bronze medals and emerged as in­spi­ra­tional fig­ures in a medal­starved na­tion.

How­ever, In­dian hopes that their male box­ing con­tin­gent would add to the lone bronze medal won by Vi­jen­der Singh in Bei­jing four years ear­lier were dashed, leav­ing the con­tin­gent to work on its skills.

To­wards the end of the year, it was gloom and doom, whether it was in cricket or the Olympic move­ment in the na­tion.

The In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee (IOC) sus­pended the Na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee for flout­ing guide­lines af­ter a messy elec­tion build-up.

With the sports min­istry re­fus­ing to ac­knowl­edge the new set of of­fice-bear­ers and the IOC declar­ing the elec­tions null and void, it re­mains to be seen whether the wran­gling and power-hun­gry of­fi­cials — most with po­lit­i­cal pa­tron­age — and many politi­cians them­selves, will al­low pro­fes­sional sports man­age­ment to take root in In­dia and

ath­letes gain pri­or­ity over of­fi­cials.

Of course, there are many fed­er­a­tion bosses who have clung on to their po­si­tions for decades.

They of­ten block the set­ting up of proper ad­min­is­tra­tion mech­a­nisms at the state level which in turn hurts the devel­op­ment of sports at the grass­roots level.

The In­ter­na­tional Box­ing As­so­ci­a­tion and the government have sus­pended the box­ing fed­er­a­tion for flout­ing norms in its elec­tion. What’s more, the min­istry has dis­af­fil­i­ated the archery body too for ig­nor­ing its Sports Code.

With huge sums of tax­pay­ers’ money go­ing into sports pro­mo­tion, it is time accountability be­comes a norm in sports man­age­ment rather than an ex­cep­tion.

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