First at the Goel Post

Fol­low­ing Sports Min­is­ter Vi­jay Goel’s daz­zling per­for­mance in Rio, Malavika Sang­ghvi pens him a con­grat­u­la­tory let­ter

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE - Malavikas­mum­bai@ gmail. com ( The colum­nist be­lieves in the art of let­ter writ­ing; Views ex­pressed are the colum­nist’s own)

Dear Mr Goel, Re­cently, it has been brought to my no­tice that you have been sin­gled out for praise for your per­for­mance in Rio, and that your many acts of sports­man­ship and val­our have brought much glory to In­dia.

The IOC, it, seems has put on record the many ways in which you have im­pressed them: the speed with which you have raced in to non- ac­ces­si­ble or of­flimit ar­eas, the pre­cise aim with which you took those myr­iad self­ies, the many ways that you crossed the line of ac­cept­able be­hav­iour and the tal­ent you have dis­played in shoot­ing your mouth off, , have all been sin­gled out as s great ex­am­ples to in­spire thee In­dian team to run faster r higher and stronger in their r en­deav­our to win In­dia a medals.

News of other dis­plays of f your tal­ent in var­i­ous sportss have cap­tured the pub­lic im- ag­i­na­tion and are be­ing dis- cussed across the na­tion too:: the way you can dive ef­fort- lessly into con­tro­versy, your abil­ity to wres­tle with the truth, how you shoot your mouth off at the slight­est in­stance and, of course, the fa­mous man­ner in which you lob the names of our In­dian con­tin­gent on the tram­po­line of your ig­no­rance.

There are have been other acts of your sports­man- like abil­i­ties in Rio too. The dis­play of ver­bal gym­nas­tics by which you have at­tempted to wrig­gle out of a bad sit­u­a­tion. The way you have cy­cled fu­ri­ously in front of in­ter­locu­tors to try and counter their ac­cu­sa­tions, your des­per­ate sprint to be pho­tographed with ath­letes when they’ve just fin­ished a match and, of course, the pre­ci­sion and ac­cu­racy you’ve dis­played when aim­ing to spell the names of our sportsper­sons in your con­grat­u­la­tory tweets.

Go­ing by all this, there ap­pears to be no sport in which you are lack­ing, no game in which you fail. From bound­ing ef­fort­lessly over lim­its of pro­to­col to fenc­ing over im­por­tant is­sues to dodg- ing em­bar­rass­ing ques­tions, you have shown such a re­mark­able ap­ti­tude for sport that it is a mat­ter of great for­tune that we have a sports min­is­ter who can rep­re­sent us so mag­nif­i­cently on the Olympic field.

Dash­ing into cam­era frames, throw­ing your weight around, kick­ing rules and reg­u­la­tions, swim­ming in trou­bled wa­ters, punch­ing above your weight, row­ing against the tide of ac­cept­able be­hav­iour, bend­ing rules and slam­ming in­ter­na­tional eti­quette, you are truly a sports­man of re­mark­able gifts — one who can sin­gle- hand­edly win an Olympian- sized vic­tory forf our na­tion.

And so, as we inch to­wards thet clos­ing cer­e­mony of this most spec­tac­u­lar of hu­man en­deav­our, the pin­na­cle of mankind’s achieve­ments, I won­der if you will con­sider re­turn­ing one more time to Rio for a much- de­served vic­tory lap around the sta­dium?

Can’t you just see it? There you will be, jog­ging con­fi­dently around the arena to the sounds of thun­der­ous ap­plause and wild cheer­ing as you try and stay one step ahead of all those peo­ple — IOC of­fi­cials, In­dian sportsm men and women, In­dian fans and me­dia — who just can’t wait to get their hands on their ever bungling, bum­bling, deeply mad­den­ing and ef­fort­lessly of­fen­sive sports min­is­ter who has so am­ply dis­played his cre­den­tials for his job: court con­tro­versy faster, take our coun­try’s em­bar­rass­ments higher, and make a case for ban­ning such of­fi­cial be­hav­iour even stronger.

Here’s wish­ing you much rest and re­cu­per­a­tion af­ter your ster­ling per­for­mance at Rio, Mr Goel. And may the next Olympics see you in even bet­ter form all round. With ev­ery good wish, Yours sin­cerely, etc

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