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
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.