Sports

Give sportspersons the honour of representing the Nation

Saba Nayakan Kolkata | Updated on June 16, 2013

Sourav Kothari in action against Noppon Saengkham (Thailand) during a snooker international in Chennai last year.

In the world of sport, representing a nation is paramount to an athlete.

The motivation to excel stems from the fact that a sportsperson is being backed by a nation and its people.

But, if for reasons other than sport an athlete is denied the right to represent his country with full honours, he or she will have every reason to feel de-motivated. Some sportspersons, especially those practising cue sport, are in a similar predicament for no fault of theirs.

The country’s apex sports body, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), has been de-recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), owing to non-compliance with the Olympic charter, among other things.

Consequently, the IOC’s continental arm, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), too is bound to impose sanctions on the IOA.

With the Asian Indoor Games coming up at the end of this month (June) at Incheon in South Korea, the selected athletes are clueless. Denied the banner of the IOA (read India), these unfortunate sportspersons will have to play under the IOC banner at the Games.

As most of these games rely heavily on funding by the Union Government , the Government will have to take a stand on this issue. The earlier a decision is made, the better it is for the athletes. They will need some time to organise themselves for the trip in the event of the Government not backing them.

Bengal’s top cueist Sourav Kothari is one who has qualified in billiards.

“It’s indeed an honour to represent my country in the international arena. I am willing to go on my own because I really worked hard to qualify. And, this is my first Asian Indoor (championship), which I don’t want to miss,” he says.

State-mate Brijesh Damani echoed similar sentiments.

“I was part of the Indian team that won the gold medal in snooker in 2009. We are the defending champions and we would like to win the gold again,” he feels.

National coach for cue sports, Manoj Kothari, is of the opinion that the boys should go even it means spending on their own . “The players may not wear India colours during the Games but can anyone deny that they are not Indians?” Manoj asks.

>sabanayakan.s@thehindu.co.in

Published on June 16, 2013

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